Monday, June 6, 2011

Macedonia Greek Cuisine

(Please read part 2 from September 2011)

Macedonia Greek Cuisine is located in the Reed Opera House in downtown Salem, Oregon. Macedonia actually serves Italian dishes as well.

Macedonia only has a couple of signs on the outside of Reed Opera  House.
This is one of them.
They have a bunch of menu options that I was wanting to try. I even saw Macedonia had a sandwich special; for $5.95, you can get one of four types of sandwiches. But I wanted to sample a few items, not just one sandwich.

The place looks beautiful. Problem is...where are the customers? It's about 15 till noon!
Macedonia has won several awards:

2009: Best Vegetarian Restaurant
2010: Best Vegetarian Restaurant
2010: Best Hummus
After looking at their menu options, I opted for their Macedonia Plate ($12.95): a lamb kabob, a slice of spinach pie, a side of Greek salad, Tzatziki dip, hummus dip, and pita bread.

Just a sampling of their lunch menu
I passed on the dessert, but this is their dessert menu

The food itself was not too bad. I personally thought the spinach pie was the best of the bunch. The phyllo dough was flaky (a sign of freshness) and the spinach filling had a good balance of flavor. I do wish the spinach pie filling was a little hotter on the inside, though -- that would be a sign that it was even fresher.

The Greek salad was the next best item on the plate. I enjoyed the mix of crisp, fresh vegetables and the salty feta cheese. I believe there could have been a little olive oil on the salad as well. Well done here.

The lamb gets slightly mixed reviews from me. While it was tender, I think it could have been even more tender and more flavorful. I wanted the burst of Mediterranean spices and I didn't get much of anything. I refuse to stick a skewer in my mouth just to rip the meat and onions off. I should be able to take a utensil and slide the food right off. Frankly, my friend makes better lamb.

The hummus and the Tzatziki were OK, but nothing special, really. This is a huge disappointment when I saw they won for "Best Hummus." I wanted more flavor and bite with each dip. As for the pita bread, it needed to be warmer -- and perhaps grilled a little more.

Food-wise, this was not worth $12.95. I can get more flavorful food elsewhere at a cheaper price. At least they are living up to their "Best Vegetarian" award; the two dishes I enjoyed the most (spinach pie and Greek salad) are vegetarian.

But two big events really soured the experience. First, there were NO other patrons in Macedonia, even though it was maybe a quarter to noon. I don't care if you've only been open for 45 minutes and you're tucked away in an opera house. Spread the word and get people to show up! Have that line of people all antsy for the place to open (see my experiences at Pok Pok and Saburo's)! If this is how things usually are, I can't see them being in business much longer.

But second, and most importantly, I felt uncomfortable at Macedonia. The woman who took my order at the front desk left an extremely unfavorable impression. She did not smile at all and seemed annoyed that I was asking her questions about the food. I've never been to Macedonia in my life, have no clue about what's good on the menu, and this is the treatment I get? Really? I would go as far to say that was the worst customer experience I've had to date.

I tend to take a bunch of pictures of the restaurant in order to chronicle these food adventures for you great readers. After all, what's a food blog without pictures? And I'm sure when tourists and other camera-happy people come from near and far for good food, pictures are being snapped left and right.

Here's the deal: a server was busy putting napkins and silverware on the tables, seemingly busying herself out in the dining area as I took photos. Yeah, you're putting out the napkins and silverware for whom? There's NO ONE there! And even if it doesn't sound so bad to readers, all that table prep should have been done BEFORE opening the restaurant! I wouldn't be surprised if the woman at the front desk made the server look busy to keep an eye on me, almost as if I was a spy from another restaurant.

I know it's just accusation -- and hopefully I'm dead wrong on all this -- but from my own experiences working the front desk at a fitness club, I know first impressions are everything (hell, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that one). The customer has to feel wanted in a restaurant at all times, not feel like he/she just got sent to prison or the police interrogation room.

Sorry, Macedonia. You are now the worst place I have ever been to. It doesn't matter to me that your restaurant has wonderful decor and some decent food. If the customer doesn't feel welcome in the establishment at all -- even for to-go orders -- he/she will not return. And when that customer is me, you'll get a scathing review and a catastrophic score.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you had a less than satisfying experience at Macedonia. I have been there often- for both lunch and dinner - and I always enjoy it. (Rarely are there a lot of other customers in the restaurant) Fortunately, I've never had a bad customer service experience like you've described. The owners are very friendly and always extremely accommodating.
    My favorites on the menu are the Village Plate and the Gyro's.
    I hope you'll give them another try sometime in the future.
    Cheers, Cindy