Andrea’s View: Last Saturday, Dave and I were out carpet shopping. We got a late start on the day, we were completely disorganized, and we found ourselves very hungry in the Nora neighborhood. We looked around for someplace for lunch, and all we found was a pizza place that was carry-out only, a barbecue place that we have already been to, some frozen yogurt shops, and a lot of fast food. I was about to settle for Steak and Shake when I said to Dave, “There’s Hellas Café.” Dave turned the car around and said, “That’s Greek, right?” I replied, “Probably, it’s that or Steak and Shake.” Dave pulled into Hellas parking lot.
We walked into a completely charming dining room and were seated promptly. As our server was getting our drinks, Dave said something about not having the camera. I said that we could take pictures on our phones, but Dave then said, “Do you just want to each lunch and not worry about it being a food adventure?” I agreed. We ordered our food, we almost ordered an appetizer but I noticed that all of the lunches came with salad, veggies, and either rice or potatoes. I ordered the oregano chicken. We sipped our drinks and waited to be served our lunch. First our salads came out, Greek salads, and they were crisp, ripe, and perfectly dressed. Then came the food. My chicken, a half a chicken to be exact, came with green beans and potatoes. It also came with an enormous knife. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with the knife, (I used it to hold the chicken in place while I picked at it with my fork) because the leg bone slid clear out of the chicken, clean as could be. It was so tender, juicy and flavorful that I wanted to write about this restaurant. My green beans and potatoes were fabulous, but the chicken was the star of the show. Dave even asked to a bite, and he never eats off my plate.
This little place just south of 86th Street on Westfield was busy for a late Saturday lunch and good for them. They should be. They have great food, and at great prices, great service, and a quaint interior. It’s everything Dave and I love about ethnic food restaurants. Too bad we don’t have any pictures. I guess you dear readers will just have to check it out for yourselves.
Dave’s View: I’m sorry there are no pictures. Why? Because sometimes that’s the way it is. Okay, the real reason: The Camera Gods shunned me and told me “no”. I complied. I had to. One thing in life and that is this: Don’t make the Camera Gods mad. Okay, the real reason two: I forgot the camera. Plus, I didn’t think that Andrea and I were going anywhere fantastic that day, so the real, real reason three, I was lazy. Now, the Camera Gods hate me and I hate myself because if I would have taken pictures of the food at Hellas Café, I wouldn’t have to write these words. Pictures do say a lot about the food, even without words, but since I’m a lazy, forgetful, scornful, anti- Camera God kind of guy, the words will have to do.
I ordered the Dolmathes. If you never had this dish before, you need to try them here. I’ve had Dolmathes about six times in other restaurants throughout Indianapolis, and these are by far the best ones I’ve had. Now, for people who never had Dolmathes, they are rolled grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground beef, and spices. Many Greek restaurants roll them thin and long, sort of like a cigar, while Hellas Café does it differently. They roll their Dolmathes like fatties. When I mean fatties, I’m talking like if you went to Denver, Colorado and purchased some items there that are mostly illegal in other states. I think you know what I’m talking about. These bad boy Dolmathes are about one inch long, one inch thick. I think you get about four, maybe five of them. (I had a lot of Greek beer when I was there.) The leaves , the rice, the ground beef, and the spices are balanced perfectly. Dolmathes should be like tacos, hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza on America’s palate. It’s an easy food that is incredibly tasty, gives you comfort, and makes you feel like you should have a Greek mother.
The sides: The Greek salad is fresh and very cold, like a Greek salad should be. Nothing special, but adequate. The green beans were, again, nice and fresh, cook with kindness, nothing special, but adequate. Now, to the Greek potatoes. Or I should say, two potatoes. They take a whole potato and slice it in half. And guess what, excellence is what happened. A perfect tender two sliced Greek potato. If you ever had to make Greek potatoes at home, they are not the easiest dish to make. In fact, they are quite difficult. I’m going to assume this restaurant has a “system” on how to make them. The place can probably make them in their sleep. In fact, they probably giggled when I wrote that Greek potatoes are difficult to make, but I don’t care. Bottom line, the potatoes were excellent!
The service is outstanding. There was one server doing six tables. That’s a lot to ask from a server. I’m not faulting the restaurant on this. I think, they didn’t think they were going to be that busy at that time. When we went in initially, there was only one couple in there. By the time we left, the place was half full.
The ambiance: It’s strange that they call this place a café. It’s a restaurant. From the outside, a gray box with white curtains, Odd to be called a café, but it doesn’t matter. The inside looks a fake Greek restaurant, but what do you want. We live in Indianapolis. The inside is the typical decorated Greek restaurant with love. When I say love, I’m talking about a “small painting on a wall, that maybe their daughter made or it came from one of the people who ate there”, kind of love. Small touches inside a Greek restaurant that is not in Greece.
Food: 9.5 Ambiance: 9 Service: 9 Total: 27.5 out of 30
$45-$50 with adult beverages.