Greek food, family style
The menu in this roadside restaurant seems almost as big as the place itself, and that's saying a lot: X & O seats 250, has several function rooms, an enormous bar/lounge, and a billiards area. The menu, too, goes on and on, with an emphasis on Greek dishes, reflecting the family behind the business. A couple of years ago, the Gregoriades family moved their Quincy trattoria down to the old Albert's Restaurant. They gutted the place, adding plush leather chairs and flat screen TVs in the bar area, which also has a fireplace and a patio (though it overlooks a parking lot).
Our waitress is Greek, too, and she recommends the phyllo triangles ($7.99, below), three large buttery pastries filled with layers of spinach and feta cheese. Unlike dry versions, this filling is moist and melts in the mouth, the phyllo offering a contrasting crunch. Crab cakes ($8.99) are thick orbs with an abundant amount of crabmeat, again both moist inside and crispy out. A homemade tartar sauce enlivens things.
The best starter - or mezethes - is the soutzoukakia ($6.99), two grilled beef patties. They're delicious: juicy ovals with a heady mixture of garlic, black pepper, and cumin. In Greece, these are grilled, then simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. Here, the sauce is on the side, with roasted potatoes.
Entrees are large and, typical of Greek cooking, straightforward with a few fresh ingredients. Moussaka ($14.99) is like lasagna, with layers of roasted eggplant, potatoes, and ground beef topped with a thick, creamy bechamel sauce. A fine dish, it nevertheless could use a bit more of the classic spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, and fewer (and more thinly-sliced) potatoes. Braised lamb ($16.99), another traditional dish, is tender in a tomato-based sauce redolent of onions and garlic. Mixed fresh veggies add a colorful side: squash, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. Grilled steak tips ($15.99) are tender and tangy, marinated in a bourbon and barbecue sauce, and cooked as ordered, medium rare.
For dessert, there's a fine, thick, gooey baklava, and tiramisu is an ethereal version, light on the espresso flavor (both $5.99).
Things really heat up after the dining hour: The younger set comes in and DJs and dancing take over the lounge. There's a long drink menu with offerings like Booty Call and Eye Candy.
As for the food, many of the recipes belong to Mary Gregoriades, who came here decades ago with her husband and their two young children. She is now a retired nurse, husband Christos a retired doctor. Their daughter Krysla is an attorney, son Manos has a business degree. Food and hospitality are a huge part of the Greek culture, and all four family members are busy running X & O.