Let me tell you about my favorite dish at Parthenon Grille. . .

Several friends have asked me lately why I stopped writing restaurant reviews. There's more than one reason. First of all, I started writing a book and that project consumed my writing passion for almost a year. By the time I finished that, I was out of the routine. My good friend Mike Pirtle had left The Post for a new endeavor. And he was my contact person. I had no idea if the new editor was even interested in my reviews. I assumed not and never pursued it. Secondly, in order to write new reviews, one has to keep trying new places all the time. I knew I could not review the same restaurants again and again. John and I do not continually try new restaurants. We develop favorites and tend to stick with those most of the time.

We eat at Parthenon Grille more than any other restaurant in town. We have been regulars for years and we love going there. We enjoy the food very much, but it's more than the food. It's the people. They treat us like special guests -- like royalty, actually -- because we've been regulars for so long. Addison (who almost always takes care of us) has all of our preferences memorized. If you've ever heard me order, then there is no need to explain. I am a special request person.

I have a lot of Greek in my blood, but I never knew any of my Greek relatives because my dad's full-blooded Greek father died when my dad was very young. I was never exposed to any of my Greek family or Greek culture. When I told Tula and Kathy that, they unofficially adopted me. So I now feel as if I AM part of a Greek family. I love that. (After watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I realized that I am a typical Greek woman in many ways. I am passionate, expressive, emotional, opinionated and have had a love affair with food as far back as I can remember.) I got the big dose of these genetics in my family. My brothers were more introverted like my mother. I kind of stood out in my family as the emotional one, the one who needed to talk about everything, etc. And perhaps that is part of my special attachment to my Parthenon family. I think I might have been considered "normal" if I had grown up in their home.

It takes me a while to get to my point, but there was a specific reason I began writing this particular blog post. Months ago, Angelo (owner/chef/Kathy's husband) featured a special that instantly became my very favorite Parthenon dish. I ask (beg) for it regularly. But since it's a special and not a menu item, I can't always get it. The ingredients are not always on hand. 

Late this afternoon, Addison posted to my Facebook Wall: "Imperial tonight at the Pnon. = )" And I was dying because we were already preparing dinner at home. I exclaimed to John, "Oh, man! Angelo's making MY special tonight. I wish I didn't know."

Here is a picture of the dish. I've only had Mahi Imperial, but tonight he is serving it with Grouper (John's favorite fish). Let me describe what you're looking at...

Fresh Grouper stuffed with a blend of crab, scallops, calamari and Imperial Sauce, served atop Parmesan Cream Spinach and drizzled with a butter cream caper sauce. The first time this was the special, John ordered it and I did not. I wasn't sure I would like it and I knew John would let me taste his. I SO regretted not ordering it. And the next time it was offered, I jumped at the chance to have it. I finished every bite (even though I was miserably full by the end of my meal).

I just want to give my local readers a heads up. If either the Mahi or the Grouper Imperial happens to be the special the next time you dine at Parthenon Grille, you simply must try it. It is out of this world. It's the best seafood dish I have ever eaten. I'm thinking about getting a petition started to make it a regular menu item. So, if you try it and agree with me, let me know so I can make sure to get your signature. 

Another favorite of ours is the Salmon Mascarpone appetizer. I cannot oversell it. I can usually take or leave smoked salmon. And I only eat wild salmon; never farm raised. Parthenon serves wild salmon and it is the best. The smoked salmon is served with warm pita triangles and a scoop of herbed mascarpone cheese. The plate is drizzled with olive oil and the salmon is sprinkled with thinly sliced rings of red onion, capers and parmesan cheese. You want to spread a little mascarpone on the pita, then layer onion, capers and salmon on top. It is not only delicious, it's a healthier appetizer than my other favorite (Parthenon Dip). I love being able to do something good for my arteries that is so enjoyable. I highly recommend you try this appetizer, as well as the Imperial.

Unfortunately for me, I got Addison's message after John and I had already started preparing an early dinner. Truth be known, with the slightest encouragement from John, I would have scrapped our dinner and headed for Parthenon. But my more pracitcal better half is not as given over to his passions as I am. So we stayed home.

Addison, I need to give you my cell phone number so you can text me next time. John said if I had read the message a half hour sooner, you might have seen us tonight.