Grillmark is a casual eatery in Albertson which offers counter service and seating in a contemporary-designed dining room. The relatively healthy menu is devoted to Mediterranean-style fare, and the sleek surroundings and moderate pricing make this restaurant one you can feel good about frequenting more than once a week
Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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Grillmark is that rare restaurant you can feel good about frequenting more than once a week — or even once a day. Surroundings are sleek, prices moderate. The relatively healthy menu, devoted to Mediterranean-style fare, centers around clean, simple grilled "sticks" — marinated and skewered grilled poultry, seafood and meat. You can get yours as a platter, with two accompaniments, or as part of a pita wrap. Recipes are from co-owner Dmitri Londos and his wife, Ewa, both of whom hail from Greece.
Here in Albertson, the rule is to order at the counter and wait for your food to be brought to the table. Don't expect much in the way of dinnerware, which is paper and plastic. One night, on request, two lively dips — hummus and eggplant salad — are delivered before the rest of the meal. Accompanied by warm pita wedges, they make for fine schmearing.
You may end up forswearing the commercially made gyro served at most Greek restaurants once you've had the house-made chicken and pork versions here. The meat is sliced off the spit in shards that ooze herbal-citrusy juices. As for the actual "sticks," a filet mignon skewer features velvety, succulent cuts of meat. Skewered pork pieces have a lovely char on the outside and are pink and juicy within. A real surprise is how tender and delectable chunks of white meat chicken turn out to be. But the showstopper is swordfish, cubes of moist, steak-like fish that even meat eaters could embrace.
As for sides, an OK-but-boring side salad is upstaged by a vegetable special featuring steamed cauliflower in a lemon-herb sauce. Quinoa comes out subtly lemony, sparked with cilantro, dotted with dried cranberries. And Mediterranean rice amounts to sheer comfort.
Among main-course salads, the salmon kale variety stars expertly grilled chunks of fish over a combination of kale, lettuce, quinoa and avocado; its honey-dill dressing, thankfully, is only slightly sweet. Better by far is a peanut-dressed Thai shrimp salad featuring sizable shellfish over greens punctuated by fennel and pineapple, topped with peanuts.
It would be a shame to bypass the rich, flaky baklava. Or the lush and creamy rice pudding. Mindful eaters might want to share dessert, limiting themselves to just a bite or two. Good luck to those with that type of willpower.