Doretta Taverna Boston, MA

Went to Doretta Taverna for the first time last evening before going to see the excellent Dogfight at the Speakeasy Stage at the Calderwood Pavilion. We sat at the bar. The cocktails were excellent, though I found their cocktail menu a bit dull, the bar tender did make us excellent rye Manhattans, and Sazeracs.

Now for the food.

The Good:
Three Spreads with pita - $17 Couldn’t tell if the pita was housemade as advertised, but it was good and warm, and the three spreads (hummus, eggplant, and an especially yummy yogurt with jalapeno) were all very good.
Lamb Meatballs - some folks might not like the crispy outer texture, but we both did, and it’s a generous portion of six small meatballs for $12.

The OK
15 hour lamb shoulder $32 This was a pile of deconstructed meat from the shoulder, served with what I think was superfine chopped Brussels Sprouts (it’s not listed on the online menu, and I don’t remember what the menu said when I ordered it). In any case, the meat, though nice and “lamby” was under seasoned. It really needed some spice, or at least salt and pepper. The side veg was similarly under seasoned. My wife wasn’t very hungry so she ordered the much touted Village Salad. Now this is not a lettuce laden salad, it’s just tomatoes, cukes, red onion, olives,
oregano, and red wine vinegar. It was delicious. My issue with it was that it’s a side salad sized salad, and costs $14. I expected at least a dinner plate sized salad (a did my wife).

We had some Greek cookies $10 for six cookies that while very good, aren’t any better than what you can get at any of the Armenian markets in Watertown (and are pretty similar).

All in all, I’d return for apps and drinks at the bar, but other than that I’ll pass. It’s just too much money for what you get. I don’t mind paying for what I perceive as quality, but we didn’t like any of the main dishes enough to call them “quality”.

I have to say, this is a disappointing review of a very anticipated restaurant. A high end, carefully crafted, Greek restaurant would actually be a great addition to our dining scene in Boston. Freshly caught fish, prepared simply. Lamb grilled with local, fresh vegetables that have been grilled alongside. Simple soups, with generous salads.

I was surprised to see that the Village Salad is priced at $14 per person, not per salad. Interesting concept on a menu that has no other per person pricing.

Thank you for your report.

I know, we both really wanted to love it. I looked at Yelp, and was surprised at the really positive reviews, with the only dissenting voices being about service, and loudness. Was it loud? Sure, but not worse than any other place these days, and the music was at an appropriate volume. No comments about a $14 side salad? Only one comment about the lamb shoulder, which also called out it’s blandness. Oh well, maybe I have higher expectations, especially when I’m laying out $200 for dinner and drinks (a lot of drinks!).

How much was the food alone, approximately? Even with a full bottle of ouzo, that is a hefty bill. For that kind of money, I need damn good food. I am very much about the value for my dining dollar. And value assumes excellent and carefully prepared food.

$95

Spreads = $17
Meatballs = $12
Village Salad = $14
Lamb = $32
Cauliflower = $10
Cookies = $10

Cocktails were $12-14 which is pretty standard for craft cocktails these days.

Plus my standard 20% tip.

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my eyes popped at that price unless it was MOUNTAINS of spreads. food cost on that is minimal.

It wasn’t mountains. Probably about 4-6 tablespoonfuls each.

Well, one thing that turned me off a bit to Rosebud Kitchen in Davis was the Mediterranean Mezze Plate. It was perhaps 4 spreads with some olives for $17.95 with some toasted pita (house toasted and tasty). It just felt a bit stingy for a few dollops of inexpensive spreads for $18 bucks. I wouldn’t be happy with 3 spread for $17 unless the servings were really generous.

Compare that to Pasha’s vegetarian Meze platter. Expensive at $22 and enough food for two to eat as a meal! This platter is what dreams are made of. They bring more pita if you run out, and they are all really excellent. Or, in the same vein, The Greek Corner maze for $12.50 for a decent amount of “spreads” and they are usually very good. Less expensive locations, lower profile chefs, but that is the comparison.

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Actually, a friend and I have gone to Pasha just for the Meze plate and been very happy! It is really delicious and a great value.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold