31 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue WA 98007
Sparta! Tonite We Dine in Orexi!
By: Steve G
The Orexi restaurant is one of the first Greek restaurants to open in the Bellevue area. The name Orexi is derived from the Greek word of the same name meaning “appetite.” Chef Seattle was curious about whether the Orexi truly fulfills your appetite or leaves you wanting more.
Standing near the corner of Main St. and Bellevue Way, the Orexi has a more earthly tone in regards to color and architecture. Adorned on the side of the building is the Orexi sign, bordered by two Ionic columns. As we entered the door, we gazed are eyes on the ambiance of the restaurant. Around the edges of the restaurant stood several small tables accommodating around 3-4 people. In the middle of the restaurant is a patio of sorts that is slightly raised. Other tables are placed in this area also accommodating around the same amount of people. As we leaned up against the table, creaking sounds and subtle swaying of the table caught our eye. On the sky blue interior walls and vaulted high celings are painted visages of Zeus and a variety of other Greek gods. While some might say it’s a bit kitschy but in this easy going setting, it works.
It quickly took the hostess to greet us with a friendly “hello,” which was immediately followed with “just a few moments” as it took her some time to finally get us seated. Looking down at the menu we saw a variety of Greek dishes ranging from Lamb, Mousaka, Souvlaki, Spanakopita and several other dishes that we had no expertise in pronouncing. While some of the items can be ordered as a single entrée, Orexi also offers larger platters that have several items. We tried the Olympus platter which consisted of Mousaka Spanakopita, Stuffed grape leaves and skewered chicken.
The Mousaka is a traditional dish that is served with eggplant, ground lamb, and tomato with white sauce that is baked until golden brown. While there are some variations on what ingredients are used in the top layer, Orexi’s version of Moussaka has a cheese layer that is baked. The reviewer isn’t really a big fan of eggplant, but the Moussaka tasted very well and they really enjoyed the cheesy taste.
Spanakopita is literally a spinach pie, the ingredients consist of spinach mixed with feta cheese, green onions and egg wrapped in a layer upon layer of Phyllo dough. Typically seen as a appetizer, upon first bite the crust was very flaky, indicating a good sign of Phyllo dough but the feta cheese seemed a little lacking in flavor, but overall it was not bad.
The Olympus platter also came with Dolmades that consists of Grape Leaves stuffed with a variety of long grain rice, toasted pine nuts and some seasonings. The pieces were very moist and had lots of flavor while the vegetables seemed a little plain and had an absence of any seasoning.
The Kefthetes was a separate dish that we ordered that came with fresh ground meatballs mixed with onions and a tangy tomato sauce. The meatballs tasted as if handmade and mixed with some seasoning and onions. The tomato sauce was very thick and had a rich meat taste to it. Pita bread and rice was also served with the dish as a side. While at first glance the meal looked quite meager, the dish ended up being very filling.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience eating at Orexi's, though some might feel that the portions are a little small and some of the dishes might be a little lacking in taste, Orexi's fulfills its promise of Greek food. Those not accustomed to Greek cuisine, outside of your typical Gyro might be a little lost in the menu, but they do enough things right at Orexi that you'll probably walk away with a new favorite Greek dish.
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