Casserole Call: The Olive Tree Mediterranean Cafe

By Columbus Alive
From the October 20, 2011 edition

A Tale of Two Sauces

Moussaka ($13.50)

The Draw: A rare and even elegant moussaka finished off with a two-fer of terrific sauces

Dig In: Most serious food fanatics aren’t aware that the word “moussaka” derives from ancient Greek and translates to “gut-bomb prepared hours ago that will weigh down your swollen paunch like a lead anchor for many hours more.” OK, I might’ve made that up, but I bet you know where I’m coming from.

Prepare to toss those expectations out the window, because Olive Tree’s mold-breaking moussaka transcends those heavy and run-of-the-mill models. It’s hearty and meaty all right, but this one’s also nuanced, with a restrained touch on the cinnamon and garlic plus hints of mint and oregano. And the eggplant is handled wonderfully — roasted to soft and sweet. But Olive Tree’s moussaka stands out most for its finishing yin and yang cascades of last-minute saucings: a bright, perky and tangy tomato sauce playing off a rich and lush bechamel sauce that is velvet on the tongue.