Review by Sarina Deacon
Mediterranean food is not usually something sought out in Niagara Falls, but The 755 Restaurant and Lounge might be changing that preconceived notion. Located at 755 W. Market St., this lounge has promise to become one of the most well-known eateries in Niagara Falls, because of it's exotic menu and extremely helpful service. My guest and I had quite the experience during our visit.
The setup inside of The 755 is quite unique. With three levels of dining areas, guests can find the perfect middle ground (or higher ground) for where they would like to enjoy their meal. The bar area is located on the bottom; it features a dance floor, a fully stocked cantina and even a stage for performers.
My guest and I opted to be seated in the bar area, because it was quieter. The second floor is a regular dining area and was filled that night with customers who were hungry for The 755's famous fish fries. The third level is reserved for special events such as conferences or baby showers and had large windows that let in good amounts of natural light.
The building was tidy and well-lit, but the decor was outdated. The walls were painted a neutral green, which was kind on the eyes. It was the floor-to-ceiling mirrors that turned me off. I would have appreciated some paintings or perhaps more emphasis on the Lebanese and Mediterranean culture. But since the dining establishment has only been open since October, I expect bigger and better renovations will come. The decor is not uncomfortable and one can tell it is a family-run restaurant.
There were three types of menus to choose from: lunch, dinner and Mediterranean, which is cuisine found in communities near the Mediterranean Sea. Lunch had the typical dishes such as salads, burgers and sandwiches. Dinner had a selection of pastas, steaks and, of course, fish fries. All dinner meals included house salads and dinner rolls. Our waitress stressed all of the dishes were made to order with fresh ingredients.
Searching for something off the beaten path, we looked to the Mediterranean fare for our dinner. It was fairly extensive and well priced. The descriptions were quite helpful as my guest and I were unfamiliar with many of the names of the meals.
For our appetizer, we stayed with the dinner menu and ordered the Buffalo chicken wing dip ($6.95). It was described as "shredded chicken tossed in hot sauce and baked with blue cheese, cream cheese and cheddar; served with tortilla chips."
For dinner, we decided on the "Two Can Dine" $30 deal on the Mediterranean menu. It included: hummus, babaganoush, falafel, kafta, grilled chicken, spinach pastry, cauliflower, eggplant, pickled veggies, fries or rice, tabouli or fatoush, tahini sauce and pita bread.
Our appetizer and the first course of our dinner arrived at our table at the same time. We dived into the dip first. It was a golden mixture of chicken, hot sauce and bubbling cheese. The consistency was thick and creamy and we quickly ran out of tortilla chips as we scarfed down the starter.
The first course of our dinner included hummus, babaganoush and slices of pita bread. The hummus was defined as "chickpea dip, finished with extra virgin olive oil, paprika, and mint," and the babaganoush was defined as "roasted eggplant dip, finished with extra virgin olive oil & mint." We alternated dipping our warmed pita bread into both dips, but found we enjoyed the hummus better. The consistency in the babaganoush was chunky and the eggplant flavor was odd. But both the chicken wing dip and hummus went over nicely.
The second course of our meal was served and included the meats, vegetables and side orders such as rice and salads. My guest and I didn't know where to start, so we nibbled on a little bit of everything. I started with the spinach pastry, which is "flaky phyllo pastry filled with spinach, kalamata olives and feta"
The spinach pastries were my favorite. They were well stuffed, the crust was flaky and the flavors of feta and spinach mixed very well together. As someone who hates olives, I couldn't even taste them, because everything was so excellently blended.
I tried the falafel next. It was described as "crunchy and vegan patties consisting of ground chickpea, fava bean and spices" I didn't enjoy it at all. It was dry and way over-spiced. But my guest was happy to take my portion as she found them to be delightful.
The grilled chicken and kafta (beef) were served on skewers and were nicely seasoned with notes of ground pepper and paprika. We dipped them in tahini sauce, which added a nice touch. The roasted cauliflower was a real treat, too. We mixed that, along with the pickled vegetables, into our rice to create a whole new meal.
The only item from our dinner that didn't go over well was the tabouli. It was written on the menu as "a fresh salad of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, green onions; dressed with dried mint, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. All my guest and I could taste was parsley and lemon juice. We each had one bite and then left it alone. It could have used more of the other ingredients to assist in balancing out the flavors of the dish.
For dessert, we each selected our own. My guest ordered the rosewater baklava cheesecake ($6) while I ordered the orange blossom flan ($6). The cheesecake was thick with layers of ricotta pastry and topped with chopped pistachios. The flan had a pudding consistency, quite soggy, and was orange in color.
I assumed that orange blossom flan would taste similar to a creamsicle or perhaps a fruity flavor, but I was wrong. It tasted exactly how an orange blossom flower smelled. I took one bite and immediately crinkled my nose in distaste.
My guest's cheesecake, on the other hand, was pretty good. It did taste like a rose, but it was offset by the ricotta cheese and pastry layers. The crust was my favorite part. It stood out from the rest of the dish because of its crumbly and toasted deposition.
Eager to please is the best way I can describe the service. A brother-sister duo took turns waiting on our table. They were well informed of the culture and answered any questions we had about the food or their establishment. Each visit brought an offer to fill our drinks and questions as to whether our dishes tasted all right.
However, they seemed to linger around while we enjoyed our first bites. They then asked how we liked our meal. It was a little unsettling, because I felt pressured to reassure them everything was delicious.
When we voiced our opinion on the orange blossom flan, our server became slightly cold. Even though we reassured it was just not the right dessert for us and was possibly a better fit for other guests, our server's demeanor remained somewhat agitated.
As for the tabouli, we had only taken two bites and did not want to take our leftovers home. Our server insisted we did, saying we could feed it to our families. I understand nobody wants to see home-cooked food go to waste, but never make your guests feel pressured to take something that they do not want.
The 755 is truly a unique dining establishment. I can definitely see it sticking around for a while. With its wide variety of meals and informative (albeit a bit pushy) service, The 755 receives 4 out of 5 stars.