Mediterranean Mishap at Apollo Flame in Asheville, NC

Recommended: No.

I hate to return to blogging on a negative note, but I’d rather get my only bad Asheville experience out of the way. After passing a billboard promising Asheville’s best Mediterranean food as voted by residents thirteen years in a row, we definitely wanted to try out Apollo Flame. It took us three tries to visit on an open day, and we probably should have heeded that as a sign.

Unfortunately, we didn’t.

The sign outside promising pizzas and subs at a Mediterranean restaurant threw me off, but after so many positive recommendations (including that damn billboard) I continued, undeterred. I guess I made the assumption from the name that there would be Greek food (or because the people who recommended it raved about their Greek salads), but the menu was a terrible disappointment. The only Greek food on the menu was Greek salad and Greek meatballs. Needless to say, I was confused.

Another problem was that most of the dishes were meat-based, and the vegetarian options consisted of five pasta dishes with marinara sauce instead of meat sauce. When I asked whether the waitress recommended the cheese tortellini or the manicotti, she told me they were “the same thing with different sized noodles.” What?! For the record, manicotti is large tube shaped shells stuffed with meat or cheese (usually ricotta) and tortellini is small, ring-shaped pasta with a bit of cheese or meat filling. Manicotti is typically more reminiscent of a cheese lasagna than tortellini, which typically has a much more pasta taste because of the pasta-filling ratio. Or maybe that’s just my opinion. I hesitantly chose the manicotti, but I knew that I was in trouble.

The pasta dishes come with a side tossed salad, but you can substitute one of their “Famous Greek Salads” for $1.40. I love Greek Salad, so I didn’t mind paying a little extra. What. A. Mistake. My $1.40 paid for a single peperoncini, one olive, and a heaping of some tasteless feta cheese that I swear was actually haloumi cheese. That was the only difference between my salad and my boyfriend’s tossed salad. They were both served with salad dressings in enormous self-serve plastic carafes, and the homemade Greek dressing was tasteless and oily.

As if to add insult to injury, the entrees looked as though they’d been slopped on our plates like cafeteria food. The texture of the pasta can only be described as overcooked, and the sauce tasted like it came straight from a can. Fortunately, our waitress never actually checked on us after dropping off the check to ask why we didn’t need carry-out boxes.

This place is a disaster. Fortunately, I only paid $10 for this mess, but it was $10 too much. I can only assume that the moderately low prices are what keep this place open, although anyone could make some pasta in their own kitchen that is both tastier and cheaper.

 

Overall Rating: 3/10 (and only because it’s a lot of food for the price)

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