Meze is not only the name of this downtown eatery, it's also what it offers. "Meze" can be said to be the Greek version of tapas. In Greek tradition, the focus is on sharing the plates amongst a crowd of friends and letting the drinks flow freely enough to foster something of a party atmosphere. Meze, the restaurant, easily lives up to that tradition.
A perfect way to shorthand the Meze menu experience is to describe it as "international tapas with a Greek focus." The best way to describe the elegant, beautiful dining room is as a combination of a dark night club and Japanese tea room. The tables, the floor, the booths and the walls themselves are a deep, rich brown, and Japanese shoji screens are built into the space, paneling the interior of the room at about eye level. They're lit from within, creating a soft, ambient glow and a perfectly relaxing atmosphere for dinner.
That dinner spans more than just Greek small plates. Both North and South America are represented here, as well as Asia and the Caribbean. The portions are generous, and two people would be happy splitting most plates. They're priced right as well: Splurge on the cold poached prawns in a cognac sauce for $13, or be a bit thrifty and stick to the grilled vegetable plate with lemon juice and olive oil for $5. Each night at Meze also features a rotating list of specials available for $3.
The wine selection is impressive and reasonably priced as well, but Meze takes a special pride in its mojito bar. For the true Meze experience, however, gather a group of trusty companions, take in the comfortable and richly handsome atmosphere, and raise a glass of Ouzo to friendship and good food.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman