The new Arpeggio Grill does Mediterranean right
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., Feb. 20, 2009
Arpeggio Grill6619 Airport, 419-0110
Arpeggio Grill was once a Schlotzsky's and morphed through several owners before Yemenite Fida Hussain Shah took over four months ago with the help of his brood. You'd never guess it was anything but a Mediterranean restaurant; the digs have been spruced up, and the decor now solidly reflects the menu.
We ordered items that insured we could taste almost everything offered. The Greek pizza ($8.99, 10-inches) is superb. Loaded with feta cheese, tomato, onion, gyro meat, green pepper, mushrooms, and green and black olives, the crust is thin, browned just right, and packed with flavor: a great pizza. The Arpeggio Meza Platter ($9.99) covers many bases. The hummus is light and delicate, with the flavor of sesame and nutty garbanzos balanced by lemon and garlic. The baba ghanoush is superb: Smoky roasted eggplant shines but doesn't dominate. The dolmas are loaded with minty rice and lemon, and the falafel here is the best in town, light and perfectly cooked. The tabouleh has the right balance of bulgar, tomato, parsley, olive oil, garlic, and lemon. The beef and chicken shawarma are robustly seasoned, resting on a flavorful pilaf.
The Fattoush salad ($3.99) was excellent, but somehow the pita failed to be included in the mix (we added our own). The shish kabob mix ($9.99) is a combination of koufta, beef, and chicken kabobs, served with pilaf and Greek salad. The seasoning paste on the meats is rich and delicious, but the meats were all just a tad overcooked. In Arpeggio's defense, we did hit right when the staff was breaking down the lunch buffet ($7.99, salad, three sides, one meat, and drink). The baklava ($1.49) is crisp and flaky, loaded with walnuts and pistachios.
Arpeggio manages to produce solidly authentic taste but does so with a delicacy that is rare. Prices are easy on the wallet, portions are generous, and service is attentive. We recommend your visit with gusto.