- 3225 N. Swan Road, Suite 105, Tucson, AZ, 85712
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
- Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
- Official Web Site:
What we ordered: one Athenian chicken ($9.99) and one moussaka with pita and Greek salad ($8.99) for a total of $18.98, just short of our Cheap Eats goal of $20 for two people.
Comments: You can fault University Boulevard for many things, but one thing its definitely got right is diversity. If you take each restaurant at face value and forget about whether it’s a chain or not, you’ve got a pretty good world buffet going on: Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Irish, Afghani, Japanese, American, Vietnamese, European coffee shop, French. (Not to mention, Starbucks is practically a national cuisine in many countries.) Fourth Avenue can’t hold a fragrant candle to that mix.
But one of University Boulevard’s best restaurants is a little Greek place with a semi-corporate name: The Fat Greek. While it sounds like the Arizona chain My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, the fast-food joint is actually family-owned and has been on University since 2003 when it started out on the upper deck. The Markou family has recently opened a second location on the East Side, which dishes up the same casual classics as well as some more upscale and expensive fare.
Scene: The new location is actually less appealing than the old one: Instead of a bare but authentic-looking shop, the Swan location has some of the aura of a Pei Wei. Cheesy paintings of Greek columns line the walls, and the carpet and tables are new but mildly tacky. The building itself is in a strip mall.
Food: Not to mention, the new menu is more than a little confusing. For example, a plate of moussaka with a pita and a Greek salad is $8.99, but the “dinner entrée” for $12.99 is exactly the same, but comes with green beans. Since you can order both during dinner, it seems hardly worth it to pay $4 for some beans. It’s also confusing that they have two sampler platters, but one is $2 more and seems to only come with the addition of artichoke hearts, pepperoncinis and some hummus.
The slightly fancier setting encouraged us to go a little further with the entrees. Instead of ordering a build-your-own Greek salad like I usually do, I branched out and tried the Athenian chicken. The only problem was, the Greek salad that came with the chicken was better than the entrée itself. Fat Greek’s salads are always first rate: fresh cuts of romaine lettuce, loads of feta cheese, an excellently thin but tangy, transparent dressing.
The bare chicken breast that came after it were sort of an anti-climax. First of all, the dish was extremely lemony, and the potatoes reminded me of breakfast potatoes you’d get with an omelet. They were both good (especially because they seemed healthy), but the flavors just weren’t right. On a happier note, the server was very nice to bring us a side of the Athenian green beans, since we had asked about them before. Despite that mushy canned taste, they paired very well with the warmed feta cheese on top.
But the moussaka with pita and Greek salad was a hit! The creamy, white béchamel sauce complimented the soft mixture of potatoes, eggplant and ground beef to make a perfectly sumptuous casserole. The top layer was slightly browned to give it that rustic flavor. The salad on the side was great as well, only we wished we had some of their beautifully thick hummus to dip the pita in.
Service: The service was polite and prompt.
Bar: They have a selection of Greek and international beers and wines.
Bottom line: The food at Fat Greek 2 is just as delicious as the original, but there’s no need to get carried away and order the fancier dishes. It seems they do best at their most casual. To be honest, unless I lived on that side of town, I’d stick with the University location. A gyro is a gyro is a gyro.