I will be the first to admit that I am not the most eco-friendly person out there. I am terrible about recycling and I am constantly reminded about my eco failures by my closest friends. Therefore, when I heard about Greek To Me Prassino (630 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-291-4976), I knew that my broad carbon footprinting required that I try it out.
They say that “Prassino” is the Greek word for “green,” so I will take ’em at their word. This is certainly a restaurant that takes being “green” quite seriously. Prassino promises that they only serve organic produce and cheese, use no MSG, serve free-trade coffee and recycle everything they can get their hands on. They also do other green stuff that I don’t understand. I mean, what exactly are “naturally raised meats”? But it doesn’t matter whether I get it. All I know is that by eating there I think I saved the planet.
On a recent Friday afternoon I met my friend Scott for lunch at Greek To Me Prassino. (The original Greek to Me restaurant opened in Erlanger in 2000.) The space is airy and brightly painted in a very vibrant shade of — yes, you guessed it — green. The small dining area has an inviting atmosphere. There is a fairly large menu posted on the wall which you can study before going to the counter and butchering the pronunciation of Greek words.
There are 10 appetizers on the menu and while Cheese Pita ($2.95) or Tomatoes and Mozzarella ($3.95) were the easiest to pronounce, we took the tough-words challenge. I ordered Trokafteri ($3.95) because it was spicy, and Scott selected Dolamathes ($1.95) because he knew what they were. Trokafteri is creamy feta cheese blended with hot peppers and olive oil. After scooping some onto the accompanying pita bread, at first I was disappointed because it seemed too mild. But after about three seconds, the heat came roaring from the back of my throat. Dolamathes, which are rice and herbs wrapped in grape leaves, looked good, but were too bland and oily for me.
I generally measure a Greek restaurant on two dishes. The primary measure is the gyro. Greek To Me Prassino not only offers the traditional gyro of lamb with tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce, but they have advanced “gyrology” by creating gyros ranging from veggie to southwestern to Italian. I tried the Philly gyro ($5.50), which added mushrooms, onions, green peppers and provolone to the traditional lamb/beef in a pita. I have to say this was a success as it was stuffed with a full 1/3-pound of gyro meat, while the veggies were fresh and added a nice touch to the sandwich. It totally satisfied my hunger and for the price it was a great deal.
I wanted Scott to try one of the other gyro creations, but it being a Friday in Lent and he being the good Catholic boy that he is, he insisted on going meatless and choose the large Greek salad ($5.95). What can I say? Lettuce, feta, olives — it was fairly typical, but the Greek dressing was pretty tasty.
The other measure of a Greek restaurant for me is the Baklava ($2.15). Greek To Me Prassino offered a really good version that was not too sweet, nor was it dripping with honey. It showcased the flaky phyllo and chopped nuts. This dessert honestly tasted like someone’s Greek grandma baked it. I would gladly go back for more.
We also tried one last hard-to-pronounce item, Kourabiethes ($1.50), or Greek wedding cookies. These were butter and almond shortbread cookies covered in powdered sugar so they resembled little snowballs. The cookies were good, but didn’t compare to the baklava.
Greek To Me Passino overall is a satisfying lunch spot located in the heart of downtown Covington that serves up unique, filling gyros and good pastry. They are serious about serving fresh and healthy food and their heart is certainly in it. Stop in, eat some good food and help save the environment. Opa!
CONTACT BILL HATFIELD: [email protected]