Friday, January 15, 2010
Parsley Mediterranean Grille, 80 Ottawa Ave NW - 1/14/10
Located on the corner of Monroe Center and Ottawa, this restaurant is a fairly new addition to Grand Rapids. It’s fairly close to Sami’s Pita House and only time will tell if or how that will impact either establishment.
The basic set-up is similar to Sami’s: walk up to the counter to place your order, take a seat, and wait for your order number to be called. But the general feel of the place is so much warmer and welcoming than Sami’s (but pretty much every restaurant is). The colors are subdued and attractive, decor is minimal but tasteful, 4 TVs are placed high throughout the room, and about 16 tables for two or four complete the space. There’s a large board menu on the wall when you first walk in and staff waiting to take your order. We felt a little rushed because people were behind us in line while we tried to rapidly peruse the menu. With our choices quickly made, we stepped up to order and had some trouble hearing the clerk as she explained our options. Noise volume is a little high and our clerk spoke a little softly. The first two items we tried to order wouldn’t be ready for ten minutes, which we thought was unusual for a “fast” food restaurant (albeit one of good quality). So we selected something else, found our seats, obtained our beverages from the fountain, and waited for our lunch. As we waited, we laughed about not being willing to wait ten minutes. If we were in a non-fast food restaurant, our server would never have warned us about a ten minute wait, nor would we have changed our order because of it.
So about ten minutes later (yes, we enjoyed the irony), our food arrived in vast quantities. We started with Chicken Parsley Eggrolls for our appetizer that came with a house sauce. They were exceptionally good but we had to eat fast because our main dishes were sitting on the table as well. Beef Shawarma was excellent, both as an open sandwich and as a Pita Wrap. Greek Salad and Fattoush were both nicely done. A side of Baba Ghannouj was a little bitter but the pita bread was fresh and of excellent quality.
Interestingly, the food is served in hard plastic take-home containers. We thought that was strange but when we had finished eating and still had half of our food left, suddenly it was now quite convenient (it has to be somewhat environmentally unsound, however, unless they are recycling those that get trashed, probably not). One other negative is the small, thin napkins available, and you know the napkins I mean. They’re not big enough to spread on your lap and are good for about two bites of messy food.
The people here are incredibly friendly and helpful; there were five working as order-takers or cooks, and the owner and another were changing the light bulbs in the track lighting, for which they apologized several times. It’s a comfortable setting with good, freshly-prepared food. If you are yearning for a gyro, stick to Sami’s. Gyros are not on this menu and no one could beat Sami’s anyway. But if you want to try good Mediterranean food in a nicer setting, visit Parsley Mediterranean Grille. Lunch prices are mostly under $10.00; dinners under $15.00.