Sep

19

2011

Andy’s Mediterranean: ‘Ok’ Priced at ‘Not Ok’

Written By Caroline in Reviews

Andy's Mediterranean Grille - Exterior by Caroline Wik

View of Andy's Mediterranean Grille from the street.

Andy’s Mediterranean Grille

906 Nassau St.
Cincinnati, OH
513.281.9791

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 Plates
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sun: 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Price Range: Appetizers: $4 – $12, $22
Lunch: $6 – $15
Dinner: $16 – $25
Kids: $7

AndysKabob.com

Andy's Mediterranean Grille on Urbanspoon

If you live in Cincinnati or at least near it, you’ve probably heard of this place called “Andy’s Mediterranean Grille” – they aggressively promote their restaurant and their prepackaged sauces/falafel.

I first met some of the people who work at Andy’s via Whole Foods’ Uncorked! wine tasting. They were peddling and giving out samples of their boxed falafel. One portly fellow with a particularly loud voice was calling for people to come over and try it – and he called for us to try it. I like falafel, sure I’ll try it.

I didn’t really have the heart to hurt his ballooned ego and tell him that it tasted like sand.

But, I don’t really like any food from a box in general. We decided we’d give their restaurant a try sometime and see what the fresh, real food tasted like.

So off we went on a Friday evening, Restaurant.com coupon in hand. Andy’s is really easy to locate – it’s just off Gilbert Ave. near Eden Park. Unfortunately it is (metered) street parking only. On the up side we got a space right in front of the restaurant.

Andy’s has a nice little patio in front, which we would have sat at since it was a nice cool day, but there were bottles of cleaning solution sitting around so I figured I wouldn’t bother asking to sit there since they appeared to be cleaning it. When we went in the restaurant had absolutely no tables occupied, just a bunch of servers standing around.

Andy's Mediterranean Grille - Patio by Caroline Wik

The covered patio in front of Andy's Mediterranean Grille.

We were seated in the back, up a couple of stairs and looking over the bar and restaurant. The interior is fairly dark with gold lighting and the walls painted warm browns and yellows. The low lighting made it a bit hard to read the descriptions on their menu. It didn’t help that their color choice had poor contrast.

Our server arrived with another completely silent girl whom I suppose was being trained. We ordered the Mediterranean Sampler to start with, and for our entrees Adam ordered Combo #2, and I got the Lebanese Trio. Despite there not being any other customers, our food was really slow to come out.

Our Mediterranean Sampler consisted of a spoonful of Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Labneh, Tabouli and kalamata olives. Each were seasoned with oil and herbs, and tasted about standard for any Mediterranean restaurant. They were good but were only just par for the course. The pita that came with them was particularly unusual though. They were smaller than I’m accustomed to, which isn’t really an issue, but they are significantly thicker and doughy-er than most. The pita were so chewy that my jaw was on the verge of going numb and I let Adam finish. The olives were particularly vinegary, which was just on the threshold of what I could handle without hating them (so, they were just okay olives). They also had the pits in them still, which may or may not bother some people.

Andy's Mediterranean Grille - Mediterranean Combo by Caroline Wik

The Mediterranean Combo appetizer: Hummus (blended chick peas), Baba Ghannouj (eggplant & tahini), Labneh ("yogurt" & garlic - it's sour cream), Tabouli (chopped parsley, green onion, tomato, olive oil & lemon) and Kalamata Olives.

Adam got his salad soon after we finished our appetizer. You can get their normal house salad with your entree, but for $2* more you can get a Greek Salad which is tomato, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, diced radish, kalamata olives and feta cheese with dressing on a bed of romaine. Seeing as how this sounded good, we both sprung for it. As far as salads go, it was nothing particularly special. It was good, but there was nothing that stood out.

*It says $2 on the menu, but they charged $3 and insisted on it.

I wondered where my salad was, since I got one too, but I figured I’d wait and ask if it didn’t come out with my meal.

…which it did. The salad was about 60% of the plate, with two roughly golf-ball sized kibbeh (lamb with onion and spices, breaded with bulgar wheat) on shredded iceberg lettuce and a hefty spoonful of hummus. The kibbeh were depressingly small, literally only two bites each. They had good flavor and were very hot and juicy but – again – depressingly small.

Andy's Mediterranean Grille - Lebanese Trio by Caroline Wik

The Lebanese Trio - hummus, a Greek salad, and two lamb kibbeh.

Adam’s Combo #2 was one skewered beef kafta, two skewered chicken tawook, and a huge portion of rice. The beef kafta was okay, but a bit dry and bland. The chicken tawook however were juicy and flavorful. The rice accounted for 50% of the plate. Despite being seasoned with herbs, the rice too was bland and seemed to be served as just a cheap filler.

Along with the long wait for our food, we also had a bit of a wait for our bill. As far as flavor goes, Andy’s Mediterranean Grille is just okay. However, the price is way too high for the quality and portions. I would have been fine paying about $10 to maybe $13 for my Lebanese Trio, but much above (it was $19) is entirely too much. Adam’s dish even more so. Fortunately we had a coupon, which lightened the blow. To make things more entertaining our server rang up our coupon wrong so we got to spend ten extra minutes waiting for them to redo the check and re-charge our card.

By the time we were leaving one or two more groups had filtered into the restaurant destined to pay a little too much for food that was just a little too average. If that was a typical amount of business for a Friday night, Andy’s may not be around much longer.

We took a lot of pictures while we were here – we always do. If you want to see more, take a peek at our Andy’s Mediterranean gallery on our Facebook Page. If you haven’t yet, while you are there like us too!

Did we just go on a bad night, or is it always this way? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Andy's Mediterranean Grille - Combo #2 by Caroline Wik

Combo #2: One skewered beef kafta, two skewered chicken tawook with rice. Oh, and some pickles...

Verdict: Overpriced & Average Quality; Take A Coupon

Andy’s Mediterranean Grille is alright as far as ambiance goes, except it’s pretty dark in there. Some of the food is good, some not so much, but all of it is way over priced for the quality and portion size. The service was slow on that Friday night, despite there being only a few tables. The only way I can recommend anyone try Andy’s is if they are particularly interested and if they have a really good coupon.

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  • http://twitter.com/foodhussy foodhussy

    I can’t stand Andy’s. The labneh is the only thing I like (duh – it’s sour cream). The food is extremely overpriced and dry as can be. I have tried it 3-5 times and am always disappointed. I vowed that I’ll never go back. Blech! Cafe Mediterranean is much better!

    • Anonymous

      Haha, the beef kafta was the only part that was dry for us. Somehow the chicken managed to survive being overcooked. I’m thankful we had the 50% off coupon – so we at least didn’t pay full price for all of it.

      I’ve heard a lot about Cafe Mediterranean – including rumors that they’ve closed or moved (but I haven’t been able to confirm any of it).

  • http://www.smallgirldelights.blogspot.com Stephie

    I went there a year or so ago and still can’t believe that people love Andy’s. The best part of the meal for me was actually the pita and maybe the random pickles on the plate…everything else was kind of unedible, dry, bland. The food came out quite slow too and considering there were only three tables occupied…it was not really acceptable. Sorry your experience wasn’t great either.

    • http://www.OneCleanPlate.com Caroline Wik

      I don’t hate it, but I don’t think it was really worth the time/money. I’d give them another try in a year or so if they are still around.