By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
Like the antiques lining the walls of the restaurant, Dodiyos Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare has only gotten better with time. Tonight we are excited to see that in addition to their expansive dinner menu, they also have a happy hour menu and a dinner specialties menu. So we order from those, which save us on cocktails and wine and introduce us to some tasty new seafood dishes.
Dodiyos is located at SoHo Square in Homewood. They are open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. There is a parking lot in front of the building and a valet in waiting. Entering the restaurant, diners are led either left or right of the 50-seat interactive tapas bar—which encircles the center of the main dining space—to their table or banquette. Both the tapas menu and full service menus are offered at the tapas bar, making it a popular spot. Wall niches and shelves display an antique relic collection from countries throughout the Mediterranean basin. Centuries-old cabinets, a keystone that dates to Roman times, bowls and urns, a terra cotta chimney pot, and a marble plaque from an ancient fountain mix with contemporary pieces amid swatches of hand-woven, Anatolian rugs. Draped booths line the left wall, for semi-private dining. A banquette with Turkish cushions lines the wall to the right, providing a birds-eye view of the expansive space. For groups, there are two private dining spaces. And the patio to the right of the restaurant is enjoyed when weather permits. Total restaurant seating is 220.
Longtime Birmingham restaurateur, Connie Kanakis is the operating partner. And his Greek heritage is also found in many of the menu items. Leander McCurdy and Georgios Kontoulakos serve as chefs.
The Margarita-Tini is only $6 from the happy hour menu, as are their wines on this menu. Served in a large martini glass lined with salt, this icy cocktail goes down smoothly, boasting flavors of a classic margarita—martini style. We could make a meal of the soft, thickly sliced, bread (with the consistency of pound cake) and a creamy cheese spread that we enjoy with our cocktails. But when I see fried lobster and seafood crepe—two dishes that are not easy to find in Birmingham—we order both. Connie’s Lobster Bites, an appetizer from the dinner specialties menu, arrive hot, golden and lightly breaded, plumped full of large pieces of lobster. There were 15 on our plate, accompanied by lemon wedges and spicy remoulade sauce. Catch these heavenly bites if you can—highly recommended. The entree of Seafood Crepe, also from the dinner specialties menu, is enormous. It arrives on an oblong plate, overfilled with succulent scallops, shrimp and snapper beneath a white sauce that adds a touch of creaminess. This dish is hearty in proportion while being light in style, if you don’t indulge in all of the cream. And it will satisfy the seafood lover in you. We end the evening with another dish from the specialties menu: Banana Cream Pie. A cherry topped, large wedge has a crumbly crust with a bottom layer of banana cream and a top layer of cream. This cool pie makes a refreshing end to a scrumptious dinner at Dodiyos.