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After Athens, Rutherford

walter maier

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We ate at After Athens, in Rutherford, on Saturday evening.  We had a group of 10, and we sure did pack the food away.  Oh yeah, and the wine too.  You have to enter through a street level cafe called Eros, and then through big silver doors to go to the basement, where After Athens is located.  I won't even attempt the Greek names of what we ate, but it was all good.  We started with, what we thought was going to be 2 platters of appetizer combos and 2 orders of flaming fried cheese.  We got the fried cheese, on fire natch, however we got 4 platters of appetizers.  Seeing as we ate everything, we didn't argue.  The entrees were a mix -- salmon special (very good by the way), flounder stuffed with crab meat, pork chops stuffed with spinach and feta, baby lamb chops, and some other stuff at the other end of the table.  Everything I tried was delicious.  Desserts were bakalava (quite good), apple pie, double chocolate pie, chai, coffee... the usual suspects.  All told, with tip included (the restaurant added the tip), came to $44/person.  An excellent value.  There was a live jazz band that evening (vibes, drums, bass) but they advertise Greek music Weds-Friday.  We loved the subterranean ambience, and the service was very good -- attentive, not annoying.

Also looks like a Moroccan restaurant will be opening next door in the near future.

After Athens

19 Park Avenue

Rutherford, NJ

201-729-0005  BYOB, casual

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  • 5 years later...

We went to After Athens last night and were highly impressed by the food, less so by the service.

We got there relatively early, 6:30ish, and we were pretty well waited upon since there was only us and one other table there. Our waiter was knowledgable and had some pretty good insight to our questions, he was attentive, not too doting-upon. Sure, no problem there.

We ordered the goat cheese croquettes and tzatziki as appetizers and we were highly impressed. The croquettes were really flavorful; a little dry-feeling in the middle, but I liked the way it melted away in my mouth a little. The tzatziki was creamy enough but not too heavy, with just the right balance of garlic and mint. The pita were fresh and warm.

When the mains came, we were very wowed by the food. After Athens didn't have a 100% Greek menu; it verged a bit into Italian and elsewhere but nicely so. I had a whole bronzino, grilled and delicious in basic Greek style, just olive oil and lemon. I don't think I've had a better piece of basic fish anywhere. My girlfriend had the lobster and shrimp ravioli in a white wine sauce. It was really impressive, a nicely thick sauce and the ravioli were definitely handmade. There were some chunks of actual lobster in there, which is a big plus. I think it was a bit cheesy, but it was well-balanced.

After that, we were waiting for around 15-20 minutes, polishing off our wine and waiting for the plates to be cleared and a dessert menu. When we did order, the dessert came out really fast. I know most Greek desserts are premade, but this was really quick.

The desserts were worth having, and I don't say that often about restaurant desserts. My girlfriend had ekmek, a custard and shredded-baked goodness; I had galactoboreki (sp?) which was utterly delicious. After that, though, it took about a half-hour to find a guy, request the check, and get it signed off.

We're going to give it another shot for sure, but if the service falls off again, that's it. Still, it's definitely worth it.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

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After Athens has recently (meaning sometime in the last year) revamped its menu to expand their offerings of meze. The portions are generous & it's easy to make a meal out of 2-3 of those plates.

They do seem rather casual about bringing the check - another way to look at it is that they don't rush you out - but I've never had a problem catching our waiter's eye & getting the check transaction done in what I consider a reasonable span of time.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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i've been to after athens a few years ago with my family (my parents are from greece). say, 5 or more years, before my parents retired to south carolina. from what i remember, the man that seated us and waited on us was also native greek. in greece (and i think this is true for most of europe), you have to ask for the check. they will not offer it. not because they don't care, but because it's the culture to allow people to enjoy their meals. they will let you stay for hours and hours without saying a word. so, maybe they are still in that mindset and forget that americans expect the check and a "short" meal.

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