Few-frills Yanni’s Greek Grille fuses cuisine with solid results

I’ve written a lot during the past few years about how much I enjoy the experimental fusions popping up around the valley, involving Korean, Japanese or Indian flavors fused with elements of, usually, Mexican and Asian cuisines. So I had to smile when I saw spanakopita and kotopita spring rolls ($4.50 for two) on the menu of Yanni’s Greek Grille, a smallish spot in a strip mall on a quiet section of Las Vegas Boulevard South.

If you’re familiar with Greek food you know spanakopita usually is a layered dish with phyllo, spinach and feta as the main ingredients, and kotopita is much the same with some kind of meat (in this case chicken) and sometimes a vegetable (spinach here). And usually, the dishes are baked in large flat pans, and you’re served a square. The idea of putting it inside a spring roll-type wrapper intrigued me.

It turned out to be a pretty successful marriage, the wrapper actually being phyllo, it seemed, and baked, which meant there was no grease at all. The only problem was that the filling was bland in the extreme and needed onions or scallions or something to make it more interesting; the accompanying tzatziki just wasn’t enough.

Much better was the shawarma pita, part of a value meal with side dish ($11.25). I’d chosen hummus as the side and it was served with the spring rolls, accompanied by warm, puffy pita rounds. The hummus was a good one, a workmanlike base that gained depth from a float of fruity olive oil. The shawarma was deeply seasoned and the thickly shaved meat had crispy edges, as though it had been sauteed a bit after being cut from the spit, and was piled high, with just a bit of lettuce and a drizzle of a tahini-infused sauce.

The filet mignon kebab ($14.99) piqued our curiosity, especially at this price. It was a bit of a surprise, though a pleasant one: The meat was medium-rare as ordered, lightly seasoned so the beefy flavor predominated and characteristically tender. The orzo-rice pilaf on the side had more flavor than most thanks to adequate seasoning, but the Greek salad on the side was meh, in large part because it was mainly iceberg.

Service throughout was fine, but know that Yanni’s is a few-frills kind of place. We overheard an employee tell a customer they’d recently doubled in size, and it appears to have been primarily a counter-service spot before; they still do a lot of takeout, which may be why the dishes tended to come out more quickly than we would’ve really liked. There are a number of tables with chairs on the new side, the flatware in jars and napkins in piles. The requisite posters of Greece decorate the walls, as well as some painted accents in Greek blue.

But the expansion has apparently made way for entertainment; on a raised platform near the front were several traditional musical instruments and a poster announcing a weekend jazz event. Yanni’s isn’t a fancy place with an extensive menu, but a man we took to be the owner said beer and wine were coming soon. When the music cranks, we figure there will be a lot of people yelling “Opa!”

Las Vegas Review-Journal restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Email Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Find more of her stories at www.reviewjournal.com and follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like