Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till midnight
Greek taverna specializing in traditional fare from the south of the country.
The best thing about Melanthios Greek Char House is the aroma of smoke wafting out to the vestibule, even on weeknights when whole pigs and lambs aren't turning on the giant rotisserie/grill fronting the exhibition kitchen. The second best thing is the way the former video store has been transformed into an artfully rustic dining room with hardwood floors and exposed brick that would fit in perfectly in Greektown. Too bad our meal didn't live up to the expectations raised by the smell and setting. For starters, the large ice-cream scoops of Greek spreads on the pikilia combo reminded me of Japanese plastic food (or breasts, since each was topped with a kalamata olive), and the overly fishy taramosalata had a greasy mouthfeel, while metallic undertones marred the skordalia; tzatziki was merely mediocre. The warm Greek trio brought together grape leaves stuffed with underseasoned ground beef and rice, almost feta-free spanakopita with soggy phyllo atop spinach that tasted like it had previously been frozen, and a bunch of olives--not an inspired accompaniment. The highlight of our meal--aside from the hot, crusty, round loaves of bread--was freshly grilled octopus that was livelier, if less tender, than typical Greektown versions. Our high hopes for the grill, fueled by the dominance of expensive steaks and chops on the comparatively limited menu, were dashed when the "traditional souvlaki dinner" turned out to be skewers of dry chicken breast chunks and chewy pork served with grilled bell peppers and pita that surpassed the meats. Moussaka, which arrived with burned spots on the béchamel, was as dull as it was camera-unready. Thin Greek coffee and lackluster galaktoboureko with limp phyllo were on a more low points. Better-than-average service wasn’t good enough to make me want to return.