Restaurant Review/Essay: Stratos Greek Restaurant in Dallas

Photography by Bonathon. He needs a little help.
Photography by Bonathon. He needs a little help.

This summer we have several interns in the office polishing up their journalism skills. One, Jonathon, who we call “Bonathon,” drew me as a “boss.” He spent his first few weeks here fact checking the master list of our restaurant reviews. Now he’s hanging around looking for “clips” to show his teachers when he goes back to class in the fall. And the poor guy is, well, poor. He needs to eat. Last week I sent him to Vern’s. Yesterday, after realizing he only eats in three restaurants, I dispatched him to Stratos Greek Restaurant to expand his palate. Here is his report.

Today, for the first time ever, I got bored at work. Well, I’ve been bored before at work obviously, but this was the first time I was bored  of being bored at work. So I stopped reading stories about high school track in Alaska or something and actually went over to Nancy’s office to ask the question     “Got anything for me to do?”

Stupid, stupid, stupid! Who does this? Halfway through the question I realized that I hadn’t even checked addictinggames.com to see if that could burn some extra time as a diamond thief or ninja.
Nancy answered my question by saying that people on SideDish wanted more Bonathan and that I should go review Stratos. Now people, I understand the reasoning: I am very attractive and my words are like an orchestra upon your eyes. But please, don’t create more work for me. It will only make me bitter, and that is not attractive and then nobody wins.

“Well what does Stratos serve?” I asked.

“Everything,” Nancy replied.

“Uh…everything?”

“Yeah, it’s mostly Greek food, but they also have bar food and Mexican food,”    she said.

Well obviously that makes total sense because those things all go so well together. So far, I was confused, and wondering if I could just sneak away before she started speaking again.

“And it’s in a former strip club on Northwest Highway by Bachman Lake,” Nancy continued. “Just tell them you want the real Greek experience.”

I wasn’t sure entirely what that implied but to be safe, I took my spare roll of fifty single dollar bills.

Either way, I knew this would be an easier voyage than the one to Vern’s because I knew the area well from the times I went to Bachman Lake to eat at the Whataburger there. And also the time I got chased by a gaggle of crackheads around half of Bachman Lake at 2 in the morning because my friends and I didn’t have any spare change and they separated us from our car. Do I exaggerate? Yes. Can I bench press 300 pounds? Of course. Am I rambling? You bet.

So anyways, I made my way over to Stratos, and was seated at a booth that looked out onto the tables with multiple people at them. I think this was the waiter’s way of reminding me of the fact that I’m alone. In this world. Joke, ha ha!

But Nancy wasn’t kidding, the place looked like a renovated strip joint…as far as I can tell from movies and descriptions from friends that have been to them but whose parents don’t read their blog entries. Hi, mom and dad!

There was a DJ booth elevated in the corner and a tiled dance floor that looked  perfect for stripping. Wait…that sounded different in my head. Whatever, you know what I mean. It’s interesting to note that the owner, Nick Rizos, actually used to operate some gentlemen’s clubs in the area and his wife Dawn currently owns and operates The Lodge, an upscale club of the same variety so all of this makes a lot more sense.

The interior was very Greek, as far as I can recall from my middle school Classics class, and a cool touch was the funeral masks in the vein of the Mask of Agamemnon serving as light fixtures. They also had two projector screens that showed aerial shots of all of Greece, and if you don’t want to visit Greece after watching that, then your name is probably Hector.

Now asking me to review Greek food was kinda irresponsible of Nancy because I’ve only had it once before and I was not real enticed by the experience to try it again.

That said, I like to think I can recognize good food of any variety through a simple test: as long as it is tasty and doesn’t make me hungry in an hour, it is probably pretty good. And trust me when I say Stratos is damn tasty.

My waiter recommended the Steak Soulvaki to this uninformed slouch, and darn it if it wasn’t incredible. Soulvaki is a kebab of steak nuggets with some onion and pepper in between them. The steak pieces were enormous and a moist medium-rare with flavors you won’t find on steak anywhere else.  Couple this with some fresh, warm pita bread, a garlic-butter sauce and some rice and it was heaven. Of course, halfway through the meal I drop one of the steak nuggets onto my pants in the groin region putting grease everywhere because I have the coordination of a newborn gerbil.

I guess I just got excited. After all, it’s not every day I get the privilege of not only discovering a restaurant that serves hearty helpings of meat and very few veggies, but also an entire new style of food that I had previously only dipped my toe in. Just about everything at Stratos was great, though the price was a bit much at around $15, but then when you’re getting food this spectacular it’s tough to complain.

The biggest problem with getting back to Stratos will be convincing others to come with me to try it out. I’m really tired of eating alone and watching everyone else laugh and have fun together.

And yes, I got the Greek experience and no, I didn’t have to spend any singles to make it happen.—Jonathon Rienstra

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