Jack Adly is an Egyptian restaurateur, but there’s not much on the menus of his two Venus Mediterranean Grill restaurants that stands out as Egyptian, except for koshary, a dish of rice, pasta, fried onions and tomato sauce that’s considered one of Egypt’s national dishes.
Most of his customers come for more familiar things, chicken wings or pan-Mediterranean favorites like falafel, kabobs and hummus.
One dish to emerge from his kitchen is all-American for its melting pot of influences. The plate he calls Greek fries starts with french fries, the beefier kind called steak fries. Those serve as a sort of foundation for influences from around the Mediterranean, like feta cheese and Greek dressing, plus a housemade garlic sauce that’s similar to Lebanese toum.
“My sister Gomana actually came up with the idea,” said Adly. “We were trying out a few things in the restaurant, starting with the garlic sauce, then adding the Greek dressing that we make, because a little vinegar gives it a stronger taste.”
“Then we added a little more feta, and the tomatoes and onions because that’s what we put in the gyros, and Greek fries was born.”
Now it’s one of the best-selling side dishes at his restaurants.
The garlic sauce that gives Greek fries their punch is made from mayonnaise, fresh garlic – “a lot,” Adly said – and a few other ingredients he declined to specify. The Greek dressing is made at the restaurant, too.
“Some of the customers come in just for the Greek fries, to have them for lunch,” said Adly. Or they might come for dinner and get the Greek fries with gyro, beef or chicken on it, to make it more substantial.
Greek fries are $4.59, with meat on top an additional $2.39.
Venus just launched a food trailer, Adly said, so it looks like the Greek fries will soon be available in downtown Buffalo as well, near Bambino on Franklin Street.
Info: Venus Mediterranean Grill, 3500 Main St. (831-8100) and 630 10th St., Niagara Falls (371-2555).