Surprising Dining Restaurant Review Guide Border Header

 

Click here to visit the homepage of Mark's List, a Gay and Lesbian Entertainment and Travel site.  Subscribe to email Surprising Dining Restaurant Reviews


 
mrh      
 

 

       
Mandolin Agean Bistro: Photo by Ashley Shapiro
 

 

 Mandolin Aegean Bistro

4312 NE 2nd Ave.

Miami, FL 33137  

(305) 576-6066
A map of 4312 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137-3426. Click to see the map on MSN Maps & Directions
 Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Mandolin Agean BistroAt Mandolin Aegean Bistro, they dedicate themselves to staying true to the same food philosophy by recreating dishes that are simple, rustic and authentic to the villages of Greece and Turkey . They use seasonal ingredients, local purveyors and growers and freshly caught fish of the day. The menu covers a great selection of vegetarian options and all of theirfood is made with the highest quality extra virgin Greek olive oil.

Click here for a glimpse at the Menu.

-Review by Ashley Shapiro

Just past the hopping hub of the Design District is a charming little house that someone had the brilliant idea of turning into a restaurant. Find a cozy seat on the first floor of the house, or walk out the back door to the tree-canopied patio. The décor is Greek-chic, including rustic wood tables and chairs (every one of which seems slightly different from the next) and bright blue and white paint (straight from the Greek flag). 

You are welcomed to Mandolin Aegean Bistro by one of the hustling, bustling waiters. They are friendly, but clearly very busy trying to serve food in the foyer of a house.   On the chilly Thursday night that I was there, we were seated inside, cozied up to a corner by the service area. You could feel the buzz—the crowd was there to see what all the hype was about.

We picked an intriguing bottle of Gruner Veltliner off the wine list, which was quaint but classy a perfect fit for the evening. Our waiter brought over the bottle and apologized that all of the labels for this wine had fallen off in the chiller. Normally, this would infuriate me—but for some reason I just chuckled and then thoroughly enjoyed the label-less wine.

The menu needed some studying as the choices were extensive—mezes, salads, sandwiches, mains and sides.  Everyone needs to start out with either the Greek sampler or the Turkish sampler ($7-$12). We went Greek – tzatziki, smoked eggplant puree and tarama (a pinkish-carp roe dip)—and enjoyed the perfect simplicity of both the tzatziki and eggplant but the tarama may be an acquired taste. The soft, crusty skinny slices of bread that came along with the dips were incredibly addicting. Also delectable were the marinated grilled octopus (small portion, huge flavor) and the fried calamari with almond tarator dip (lightly fried, tender and juicy). And you can’t go Greek without some cheese saganaki, right on here.

After our flavor-packed, classic Greek mezes, we were anxious for our salad ($6-$9) and mains ($14-$19). The Greek village salad was almost too simple, but the extra virgin Greek olive oil dressing was incredible (and they use this dressing on all of their greens). Sadly, our meal ended with two mediocre entrees – the chicken kebab with orzo pilaf maroulosalata and the perfectly grilled lamb chops over orzo pilaf. The good news first – the orzo pilaf was flawlessly cooked, buttery and delectable. The chicken kebab was overcooked and boring, and the lamb chops were miniscule so they couldn’t have been cooked medium-rare, like we requested. After the main course let down, we were told there was only one dessert that sounded less-than-mouthwatering.

The moral of the story:  get to Mandolin before the hype gets too big and no need to go to page two of the menu. And whatever you do, don’t yell “Opa!”

 

Ashley Shapiro is a self-described foodie and the Ticketing and Event Manager at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. She can be reached at ashapiro@southernwine.com.