When Chennai Express picked up from its place at 452 Pearl Street in Downtown Buffalo, it left a door open for Venus Greek & Mediterranean to move right in. The restaurant is, for the most part, the same layout – the only difference is the Egyptian motif that drapes the walls. There are life size Egyptian statues on wither side of a flat screen TV, which plays Lebanese and Egyptian music videos (kind of fun and different). Large Egyptian tablets can also be seen on the walls, along with parchment paper drawings. It all makes sense, I suppose, as all of these cultures are bound by the Mediterranean Sea.
Up front, there is a counter for ordering, and large menu on the wall. After talking with the guy behind the counter, to get a lay of the land, I opted to go for the beef souvlaki wrap (large). About 7 minutes later the wrap came out. It was certainly large. The pita was nice and warm. It was pretty tasty too, filled with beef, lettuce, onion, dressing and loads of feta. It was the perfect mid afternoon meal, satiating my hunger pangs and my craving for Greek food. As I ate my wrap, surrounded by the sights and the sounds of an Indiana Jones movie, I felt pretty good. I also felt pretty good because I got a chance to chat with the owner, Jack Adly, who prides himself on preparing everything from scratch. He’s super proud of his food and says that he’s just getting started. He wants to share his food all over Buffalo – he event started a food cart that he will be taking down to places like Canalside.
Sometimes, later in any given day, when I’m in the mood for a meal and I haven’t eaten much, all I want is something quick and easy. And something that tastes good. I’m happy to say that Venus passed all of the tests, and it was pretty cheap to boot. Anytime I can get a healthy portioned Greek meal, with a small bottle of “manzo” juice, for under $10, that’s great!
It turns out that Venue is more Egyptian than Greek – the menu is about 20% Greek, and most everything else is made with Egyptian recipes (although they do sound like they would be Greek).
Venus also serves Middle Eastern delights such as shawarma, kababs, shish tawook and kofta, falafel, gyro, hummus, Greek fries, eggplant, koshery, baba ganoush, Greek desserts, and a number of American dishes (subs, panini, fingers, wings, etc). I wish that I had read the handheld menu before ordering, because only after I finished did I see the part about “Don’t forget to try our homemade hot sauce (Egyptian – called shatta). It will make you sweat.” Darn! I ended up getting a small canister to go.
While I was not in the mood for it today, Venus also offers Turkish coffee, which would go great with a baklava if I’m ever craving the combo. I’m going to have to try a few more things next time around – especially that hot sauce.
This is the second location for Venus. Their other one is in the University Plaza. Hopefully their new location will experience some longevity, because simple, fast, inexpensive
Greek Egyptian food is not just welcome, it’s synonymous with Buffalo food culture.
Venus Greek & Mediterranean | 452 Pearl Street | Near Chippewa | 716-371-2555 | Dine-in, pick-up, delivery