Mr. G’s Ristorante

The eggplant is a humble thing. With basically zero nutritional value, most of what it’s got going for it is a truly spectacular color and a near-endless malleability, cooking-wise. As long as you’re wise to the possibility that it can a) be bitter if allowed to sit around too long, b) be full of water hampering the cooking process, and/or c) soak up a truly heroic amount of oil if you let it, eggplant will magically assume just about any flavor and a fair range of textures. All of which makes it a great food for vegetarians.

Depending on the authoritative hand of the cook, eggplant can reach a transformative level when fried and matched with cheese and tomato sauce to make eggplant parmesan. It is possible that Mr. G’s (6268 Atlanta Hwy) serves great food, but that list must exclude, sadly, their eggplant parmesan, which presents a watery eggplant served mysteriously over pasta with sauce that lacks for a substantial bite. A far cry from the religious experience that is Tut’s eggplant parmesan sub, off in the far-away environs of Tuscaloosa.

We went to Mr. G’s on the promise of Greek food, but when confronted with the menu, opted for the eggplant. It came with a salad and garlic bread. The garlic bread was good, conspicuously and deliciously saturated in butter. The salad arrived twice with meat on it, despite us asking for no meat. The third time was less than charming – it was like being served a handful of shredded Subway-style lettuce with cheese on top. We had high hopes for the grape leaves, which were pretty good, if a bit oily. Stephen assures me that the ones you can get from the Fresh Market bins are better, although I remember them being a little lemony for my taste. He’s the Armenian with the refined tastes for the nuance of the rolled grape leaf.

The service was a bit odd — somewhat stilted, as if over-attention would make up for the repeated bumbled salad orders and as if people who don’t go out to eat all that often expect servers to do certain things (rattle off “specials,” making a big scene out of re-filling drinks) and if those things are rigidly checked off a list, tips will follow and it’s okay for the joint to mark up the prices a buck or two because, hey Martha, this is one of those sit-down joints.

I think we’ll go back. If nothing else, the place has a good enough reputation to merit another try. Eggplant parm on pasta? We’ll have to venture out into one of the few other vegetarian items next time. From the looks of the menu, we might have a better go of it if we went Greek. We’ll update the review after we do that. We’re optimistic, if a bit nostalgic for Tut’s in Tuscaloosa and the joy of a truly great eggplant parmesan.

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5 responses to “Mr. G’s Ristorante

  1. My wife and I went to Mr. G’s recently.

    It;s a mixed bag. I was astonished that the “garlic bread” was actually hot dog rolls slathered in garlic butter.

    The salad was great. We’re not vegetarians, so we didn’t mind the bits of ham in the salad.

    I had dolmathes, (dolmades) which contained meat and rice. Indeed, I would have liked a bit more meat. I forget what my wife had.

    The owner came by at least three times to check on us. Our server beared a remarkable resemblance to Sarah Palin.

    We’ll be back, as the menu has some interesting possibilities.

  2. Thanks for the report Jay. We certainly don’t mind folks posting their own thoughts about the food at places that we review, particularly if they have thoughts about the meat-based dishes that we won’t be ordering. We appreciate your comments.

  3. Me and my wife went last weekend and absolutely loved it! The salads were delicious and I don’t think their garlic bread is a hotdog bun, maybe a sub roll but it was still very tasty. My wife had the chicken souvlaki, the chicken was extremely tender and very well seasoned. I had the gyro which was to die for (way better than tut’s which says a LOT because I love that place). The staff was very on top of things, I’m a bit surprised to hear someone complain about servers giving you the special and refilling your drinks often (not sure how they make a big scene about it). Afterwards we had the baklava and tiramisu and split them, it didn’t take long for us to ravage the desserts being that they were sinfully good. Overall great place, we will be back

  4. What and where is Tut’s?

  5. Tut’s Place is a hole in the wall type place in Tuscaloosa. Highly recommended: http://tinyurl.com/lwgwc6

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