Egg & Dart: "Rustic Greek" in the Design District Tries for Upscale Aura

Categories: First Bites
Egg & Dart 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
The folks at Egg & Dart want you to know it is a "rustic Greek" restaurant. Those words are on the website, the menus, and the door when you walk in. They also want you to know the digs are "hip" and "modern," which was stated several times on the press release and in every interview with co-owners Costa Grillas and Niko Theodorou.

The issue might be that rustic Greek and hip and modern don't exactly mesh, which is why Egg & Dart is a confusing mashup of Old World flavors beneath a shiny mask of contemporary cool. Although it carries a stamp of authenticity (the owners are actually Greek and have an industry background), it seems to lack an extra oomph that would transform it from an overpriced taverna into our favorite spot for saganaki.

The cavernous space is light and airy now that it's entirely white-washed; unfortunately, it's still a little loud. Service was very friendly, if a bit on the slow side. The real problem here is the pricing. Entrées ($18 to $36) seemed to be large enough to warrant the cost, but the mezze portion sizes were fairly underwhelming. What truly confuses us most of all is the presence of "steak et frites" ($22) on the menu; the French dish is accompanied by "Greek fries" (which means they are thick-cut and covered in sea salt, $6 à la carte) but seems to stray from classical roots.

Grilled Octopus 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Our starter of grilled octopus ($15) was not much more than a nibble; the bite-size pieces were tender, with a nice crusty sear from the grill, leaving us wanting more. That said, the roast chicken that landed on the table next to us looked delicious and covered the plate with plenty of bird. Sadly, the veggies and potatoes, while appearing flawlessly fresh, resembled wedding banquet food. Not exactly the harbinger of taste innovation.

Greek Salad Cocktail 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
This cocktail, the "Greek salad" ($11), was our favorite creation of the evening. A base of tomato water is savory and refreshing with cucumber, olives, lime juice, gin, and pepperoncini for a spicy aftertaste that lingers. Feta-stuffed kalamatas complete the package.

Moussaka 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
Egg & Dart's moussaka was a bit mysterious, appearing more like a slice of stuffed eggplant meets shepherd's pie. The ground beef was tasty and fragrant with allspice, but the béchamel sauce on top had solidified into a mass resembling mashed potatoes. We could have used more marinara -- a trace amount on the dish was sopped up quickly.

Saganaki 2.jpg
Lesley Elliott
A square of kefalograviera cheese ($10) was definitely good -- it had the innate sting of ripeness characteristic of sheep's milk, and a giant lemon wedge for plenty of acid. The child inside wanted to cry, "Opa!" when the cheese arrived, but we must admit that the adult prefers to go without those smoky flames that always draw attention. We wish it had been a little more melty, though; the edges were crisp, but the middle never oozed. We really wanted that cheese to ooze, sigh.

The egg-and-dart design motif in Greek architecture represents that rounded shape you see in almost every example of moulding remaining from ancient times (and on McMansions, of course), alternating with another shape representing an arrow. We fear that in this case, the dart has yet to hit the bull's-eye. Egg & Dart received a "good" rating in critic Lee Klein's lineup of Miami Spice offerings, so this might be the time to check it out without the prohibitive price point.

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Location Info

Egg & Dart

4029 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
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Gletsos
Gletsos

Being from Greece and knowing how Greek food tastes, unlike the people above including the author, this restaurant is very good. People do the rest of us a favor and stop pretending to be experts in all cuisines. Just because you had greek food at a diner doent mean you have any idea how greek food is suppossed to taste. As if i know how chinese food tastes because i had dinner at PF changs last night.

CC22
CC22

Went this weekend. Pretty space, super nice waitstaff and owner but sadly just ok food. My son had the chicken which was good but as stated above came with a large amount of tasteless steamed veggies. My lamb shank and "Greek pasta," was flavorful and fall off the bone tender, but other than a little cinnamon in the marinara sauce I can't fathom why it was called "Greek pasta." The worst offender of the night was the beet salad. Unbelievably the beets, the main ingredient star of this dish, were canned! This is simply egregious in a restaurant of this kind. With it's DD location, pretty interior and superior service it is a shame the food doesn't rise above average Greek Diner.

JohnStamos
JohnStamos

Yikes, never going to survive at those prices.  People will just go 4 blocks over to Mandolin.  Much cooler space and surrounding area at Mandolin too.

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