Over the past 6 months or so of working on this website, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some interesting people in the Rochester food scene. One of the most memorable for me has been Voula Stratton from Voula’s Greek Sweets, which is located on Monroe Ave. A few months back, we recorded a podcast at the restaurant where we discussed the business and the balance between life and work. I haven’t spoken with anyone as honest and revealing as Voula and my fiancée and I have always felt at home in her restaurant due to her warm and engaging nature.
We couldn’t help but to feel terrible after hearing about the recent tragedy involving her husband and, once we got over our initial shock, immediately made plans to visit to show our support once they reopened the restaurant. I won’t dwell on the misfortune here, but instead will focus on the food we were served during our recent visits. Our first opportunity to check in was for Saturday brunch and we followed up with another visit during the week for dinner.
I’m a big fan of the brunch offerings at Voula’s and it has become a go to when we don’t grab our breakfast at the Public Market on Saturdays. On this occasion, we tried the hummus for the first time, which is served along with freshly warmed lagana bread and offers an herbaceous kick that isn’t typical but a welcome addition. It ended up a bit on the dense side due to the fact that it was pre-packaged for sale but with the solid olive oil taste I still enjoyed it a great deal.
We went for one of our favorites for the main course of brunch; the tria nissia and a generous side of lemon potatoes. The tria nissia is an upgraded version of the typical sunny side up plate where the exposed golden yolks are covered with a healthy amount of oregano and feta that provides enough salt and sharpness to balance out the richness of the eggs. The lemon potatoes bring a crunch and citrus element to the table and I consider them to be one of the finest hash brown style potatoes I’ve had in Rochester. Tons of lemon, well salted, crispy edges and the interiors are tender. Everything I want in breakfast potatoes!
Later in the week, we made a stop in for our first non-brunch meal at Voula’s after Carrie got excited about the specials that were posted on Facebook for the evening. We got three items off that list to split up for our meal including a soup, a pizza and a semi dessert, semi main course to finish things off. The soup was a hearty bean (black eyed pea I think) and veggie filled affair with a clean tasting tomato broth and plenty of mirepoix flavor. Probably could have used a bit more seasoning but the soup was obviously homemade and brought a lot to the table that I enjoyed.
The “pizza” was more of a flatbread with a crust that was similar to a crisped up lagana bread topped with melted cheese, feta and tomatoes along with red onions, although none on my side since I’m not a big fan of them. I enjoyed the simple flavors of the flatbread for what they were and mostly left it at that. I’d like to see some fresh garlic kick or some more flavorful tomato slices, but it was still tasty. Last course of the evening was a large slice of a squash filled pastry with a name that was extraordinarily long and difficult to pronounce and a hit at the table.
The crust flaked away in sections filled with the squash filling that tasted like a less sweetened pumpkin pie. The spices most people love were all there including a goodly amount of cinnamon on top with some nutmeg and clove hints inside the filling to round things out. As I mentioned before, it was a touch less sweet than a typical dessert of this type so the quantity didn’t overwhelm us and the chewy, slightly crisp layers of pastry along with the walnuts helped to give it some more texture. We’d definitely order this one again if it were on the daily menu.
From the numerous visits I’ve made, I’ve only seen consistently excellent brunch food leave their kitchen and would highly recommend checking them out for a leisurely Saturday morning meal. Their Facebook is a great place to keep tabs on their specials and you stop by during the week to see what they have in store. The dessert/pastry case is chock full of authentic Greek delicacies with plenty of items I hadn’t seen before I made my first visit and many seem to be unique for our area. My personal favorite is the usually boring rice pudding that Voula’s has given an addictive citrus kick along with the tender grains of rice in a sweet creamy base. I get a container of it almost every time I go there and try not to eat it all before my fiancée gets some!
As you can probably tell, I’m a unabashed fan of what Voula and her crew are doing here and I can only wish the best for her and her family, both at home and at the restaurant, in these tough times. I highly recommend making a visit to get some down home Greek cooking and some of the best hospitality you’ll find in our fair city.
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