It can be easy to breeze past Olympus Grille, tucked into a strip mall next to the rail station on Route 3A in Cohasset, but I was drawn straight there by the promise of Greek specialties like gyros, pastitsio, and baklava.
The Karavasilis family opened the restaurant last fall, returning to its Greek roots after running a pizzeria for nearly two decades in Weymouth. The recipes have been in the family for generations.
“It’s stuff that’s been passed down, stuff that we grew up eating,” said Steven Karavasilis, who is the chef along with his mother, Anastasia. “My grandmother used to make them, and my mom’s grandmother made them for her when she was a young child as well.”
On a couple of icy, grey days, their rich dishes and pastries were soul-nourishing, and their healthier offerings perked up spirits with some citrus here, a bit of spice there.
The stuffed grape leaves ($3.75 a half-pint; $5.50 a pint) were so good we had them twice. The rice filling was creamy against the briny backdrop of the leaves and the freshness of lemon juice and herbs.
The mezze appetizer sampler ($13) is an array of spreads and meats well-suited to groups. The hummus is a smooth puree, mild in flavor with a hint of garlic. Terokafteri, a spicy feta spread made with Greek yogurt, is redolent of garlic and pungent from the cheese, in the best way.
Melitzanosalata, a salad of eggplant, red peppers, and olives, is creamy and bright with fruity notes. It can be scooped up with warm, pillowy wedges of pita bread. The tzatziki, a sauce made of yogurt and cucumber, pairs well with the char-grilled chicken kebab and the loukaniko, a house-made pork sausage that contains some orange rind.
The moussaka ($11) is made of tender eggplant topped with ground beef, smothered in silky mashed potatoes with a béchamel sauce. It’s as indulgent as it sounds, but a light ratio of meat to vegetables keeps the moussaka from being overly heavy.
The soft pita of the mezze platter reappears with the lamb kebab sandwich ($10), where it envelops grilled lamb, peppers, and yogurt sauce. The gyros ($10) is similar in composition, pita wrapped around spit-roasted pork that’s juicy inside and crisped at the edges, along with tomato, red onion, and tzatziki. Both are hearty, delicious fare and served with Greek salads.
Not everything is so stellar. Spanakopita ($9), a spinach pie made with phyllo dough, is good but not great. The small, flat square with a Greek salad might satisfy some as a light meal, but not fill up others. The salads that appear as sides are light on tomatoes and olives, but the bed of tangy, crumbled feta on top helps compensate.
Those are the few marks against Olympus Grille. Other dishes are standouts, like the pastitsio ($11), noodles with ground beef and béchamel. Steven Karavasilis calls it “Greek comfort food” and likens it to a Greek version of lasagna. Like the moussaka, the ratio of meat is light so the pastitsio isn’t greasy or overly rich; the béchamel has a lot of body and bakes up with a pleasantly crusty top.
“It’s the pastitsio that I had growing up,” he said. “We don’t want to stuff it with a lot of meat, because people now are very health-conscious.”
The pastitsio is among the five lunch specials at Olympus Grille, with a single entree featured each weekday. That means the pastitsio is available only on Wednesdays until it runs out, and the moussaka is made only on Thursdays.
Save room for the desserts (all $4), all of which are made by Anastasia. Baklava is not cut into the usual diminutive squares or triangles, but served as a generous pie-like wedge. The filling of chopped walnuts wrapped in layers of phyllo dough, all drenched in a sweet syrup, is addictive. The kataifi has the same filling and syrup, but is wrapped in flaky, crispy shredded wheat.
Galaktobureko is also wrapped in phyllo dough, but a lightly sweet custard is baked between the layers and served with the syrup. Revani, a semolina cake, is soaked through with the syrup. It’s dense and perfumed with orange, and I savored every bite.
I preferred them all to the simpler kourabiedes and koulourakia, Greek cookies. Both are only slightly sweet, even though the former is coated in powdered sugar.
There are also pizzas on the menu, but I bypassed them in favor of the Greek fare.
Karavasilis and his brother, Jordan, take orders at the counter and deliver them to tables. Big windows in front and tall ceilings brighten up the restaurant, decorated in terracotta hues with warm woods. There is seating for about 22, with some tables and chairs outside.
It’s unfortunate that the specials aren’t all available every day, but it means I’ll be back. How else will I try the Tuesday stuffed cabbage and the Friday baked lamb with green beans and potatoes?
Shirley Goh can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her blog at whataboutsecondbreakfast.blogspot.com