Ethos is one of two “pure Greek” restaurants in Great Neck (the other being Mykonos, but of course there are other restaurants with Greek flavors like the Great Neck Diner). I had assumed that Ethos in Great Neck was affiliated with Ethos in Manhattan, but a visit to the Manhattan restaurant’s Web site has no mention at all about the Great Neck location. So I’m assuming that ownership has changed hands since the restaurant first came over in 2007.
Ethos is a restaurant which sort of defies ratings; people on TripAdvisor and OpenTable seem to love it, people on Google and Yelp seem to hate it. I’ll give you my experience.
The decor in Ethos is classy but short of fancy. The walls are nicely decorated with simple wall art and bottles of wine. The tables all have Greek olive oil on it that has a delightful taste. The server brought out toasted bread and pita bread which you could dip into the oil or into a dish of delicious hummus that had a slightly tangy flavor.
Being in a Greek restaurant, we started with a Greek salad.
This was delightfully refreshing. The vegetables were all very fresh and crunchy, from the cucumbers to the tomatoes to the onions. There were two generous slices of feta cheese on top, along with a jalapeno. Overall, this was a very light dish, with a sprinking of olive oil, lemon, and spices. Quite enjoyable.
As is my custom, I asked the server what he’d recommend for an appetizer. He said the Thalasomezes was popular. This is “char-grilled shrimp, octopus, and calamari.
The seafood was grilled to perfection. The octopus was the most tender of the dishes, while the calamari was delightfully both tender and chewy. All three had an amazing charbroiled taste. The dish did come with a dish of what I thought was cocktail sauce, which turned out to just be ketchup. But the dish was better without it, as the taste of the seafood and the broiled taste was perfect without it.
At the server’s suggestion we ordered the Branzini, which seems to be the fish of choice for Mediterranean restaurants. They gave a choice of whether we wanted it filleted or not, we asked them to do that.
The fish was very fresh and light. It was flaky and had a nice subtle flavor, accentuated by lemon, olive oil, and capers. As far as branzino went, it was very good.
The next suggested dish was a chicken dish, the Kotopoulo Skaras.
This was a free range chicken dish, marinated and charcoal grilled. It came with yogurt and dill. The marinate had a very Mediterranean flavor, with crisp edges and was definitely very juicy. While I enjoyed this dish, I’ll be honest, I actually still prefer grilled chicken from the street vendors in Manhattan as far as overall flavor goes.
For one of the side dishes, we had lemon potatoes:
They lived up to their name–they were potatoes cooked to just the right consistency and infused with a decidedly lemon flavor.
Our final dish was the Gardes Elikines, a jumbo shrimp dish with sauteed tomatoes, scallions, mushrooms, herbs, and feta cheese.
This was a heavier dish. The tomato sauce was slightly sweet and a little overwhelming. While it was well prepared, this wasn’t my favorite of the dishes.
We finished the evening off with some Greek pastries, baklava and what I’m guessing was galatomboureko.
It was a nice way to polish off a very authentic Greek meal.
Overall, I can surmise why there’s such different ratings. This is the kind of meal you really need to be in the right mood for; if you are, the service and the preparation of the food was definitely top-notch, but if you’re not in the mood for Greek food I can see how the distinctive Mediterranean flavors can sully people’s opinions. The one thing I can’t agree about with the negative reviewers is their reports of spotty service–our water glasses were always full, and the server was always ready to help us make decisions.
Great Neck, NY 11021
Sun-Thu 12pm – 10pm
Fri-Sat 12pm – 11pm
Price Range: $$$ (around $15-25 for an entree)
Takes Reservations: Yes