Sunday, May 1, 2011

RQT visits The Parthenon, Lincoln, NE

The Parthenon
Greek, but not in Greece.
Living in the Midwest, if I were only to limit myself to vegetarian restaurants, I would never dine out. I like to give recognition and patronage to places which specifically give some attention to vegetarians and vegans.

It's great to be able to quickly find veg*n options on a menu. The Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna has four entrees specially denoted as being vegan (orzo stuffed peppers, stuffed portabello mushroom, roasted walnut spaghetti, and sweet red peppers over linguini), and several more vegetarian options that are veganized by holding the feta. (View the Parthenon menus.) Having said that, it would be especially helpful if the menu indicated which other dishes are vegetarian or vegan, perhaps with a small icon next to the name of the dish.

Vegetarian Dolmathes

I started with an appetizer. The vegetarian dolmathes ("grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, served chilled with a wedge of lemon") were lovely and understated; the seasoned rice had a dense creamy texture which contrasted nicely with the tartness of the grape leaves. [The order comes with six dolmathes - but as you can see, I couldn't wait for the photo and had to eat one straight away!]

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom
The stuffed portabello mushroom was attractively presented on a bed of fresh spinach. It was a nice portion and stuffed abundantly - in fact, the dish was more about the sun-dried tomato & basilfilling than about the mushroom. When I actually got down to the bottom of the plate, the mushroom itself was smallish. But luckily, the dish was served with pita wedges and so I ate the filling like a spread. Entrees are served with a choice of Greek potatoes, vegetable of the day, or klitharaki [orzo in tomato sauce]; rather than selecting potatoes (since the dolmathes were starchy), I chose the vegetable of the day, baked cauliflower - a simple dish with a surprising hint of cinnamon hidden among the herbs and spices. (It was vegetarian, but not vegan, as it contained a sprinkle of feta.)

Sweet tooth?

There's a lot more to the restaurant than covered by this brief review - special events, theme menus, a full wine menu and wine events, catering, and live entertainment. The Parthenon is owned by the Kaza family, and I had the opportunity to speak with George Kaza, who stopped by the table to visit. The wait staff was friendly and knowledgeable about the dishes, and eager to make recommendations.

Why dine at one of the chains, when you can make a trip to a great local place like this with nice atmosphere, a big menu with many veg*n options?

The Parthenon Greek Grill and Taverna
5500 S 56th St # 100
Lincoln, NE 68516-1878
(402) 423-2222

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