It was a warm November Sunday and we were out for a family event to this Danforth staple of over 25 years.
APPEARANCE & NOSE
Pappas Grill had plenty of glass and red brick on its exterior. The rounded windows hinted of a vintage, older style. We also could not miss the large typography sans serif - not memorable, but with an appropriate Greek alphabet feel to it. Upon entering, the first thing that drew our attention was the three level dining room. The space was not too tall, split level with a very pleasant communal feel. It was socially inviting and visually interesting with lots of small elements adding to the atmosphere.
Warm incandescent lights warmed our faces as sun beamed through the glass behind us. With a light Greek music in the background, we studied the laminated long menu with great interest. We did not think the floral graphics on the purple menus added to the theme. They were too generic. As our fresh baguette bread arrived, we asked for a Classic Greek Dips Platter (Melanzano and Tarama in our case). We also asked for their Chicken Souvlaki.
It was unfortunate that the very large sunny patio on the side was empty, but the season is over. The warm red brick continuing from the facade in combination with the large window helped keep the terrace atmosphere alive.
SWIRL & PALATE
Soft bread and golden olive oil with floating herbs kept us entertained for a while, but the dips did not take too long to arrive. Melanzano had baked eggplant with red onion, garlic and parsley - a bit spicy with a smoky smell of meat - to the point where we doubted if it was a vegetarian dish. Our other dip was the classic Tarama fish roe blended with potatoes, lemon juice and spices - nice and creamy. Warm pita was served on the side with our platter. It disappeared in no time so the other soft bread still lingering around on our table was promptly called to duty. At any rate, the dips were great and made for sharing. For our main dish, the Chicken Souvlaki, we did not have to wait long either. Skewered chicken breast spiced and served with rice, roast potato, Greek salad and tzatziki did not disappoint. Cooking chicken to make it retain moisture without being raw is an art and Papas excelled here. One of the best souvlakis we tasted in long time. We should note that a few people on our table tried the pork souvlaki and mentioned their meat was dry.
We got two glasses of their house wines to enhance our dishes. We trusted they would have worthwhile varieties to associate with their restaurant. Both wines were Greek. The red was ultimately disappointing, it was water-like, they attempted to mask the weak blend with smokiness. The white was more interesting, it was light and dry, a bit herbaceous. We ended up enjoying a couple of glasses of it.
We ended off our experience with a baklava to share. As we are spoiled with home-made baklava, we are not easily impressed. The top half layers were on the dry side and the nuts were not fresh. In addition, there was a chocolate drizzle on top which seemed to be making up for the lack of syrup. Our assumption was that it was not made in house.
There were plenty of tempting options. We did not have a chance to try moussaka, for example. Perhaps a worthwhile idea is to come back in the summer and enjoy a few more dishes on their patio. In general, Pappas Grill is a place for social gatherings. It seemed like a few more families were there to celebrate – everyone was having good time and we felt like we visited a busy street in a small Greek town.