The end of the Mayan long count is quickly approaching, but rather than prepping for impending doom, I decided to take The Apocalypse head-on. However, there were no polar shifts or judgmental horsemen because this Apocalypse is actually an Italian/Greek restaurant in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.-in Greek, the word “apocalypse” simply refers to a revelation of something hidden, rather than just its widespread end times connotation.
107 Crye Leike Drive
Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742
11 a.m.-10 p.m.
An epic dining experience: world-class service, décor and menu options.
A superior dining experience: high-quality attributes you’ll want to come back for again and again.
A solid dining experience: great characteristics but also some minor issues.
A mediocre dining experience: may have a few good highlights but major flaws.
A terrible dining experience: stay far away unless it’s the only place left to eat to avoid starvation, and even then, question if it’s worth it.
Atmosphere and service
The Apocalypse is somewhat hidden in a strip mall off of Battlefield Parkway. It was converted from a former Quiznos location and, thus, is quite small, but the interior was slightly upgraded after its transformation. It was very clean but relatively spartan other than some interesting trim work and famous art prints adorning the walls-although seeing “The Starry Night” and other works I’ve seen hundreds of times didn’t project a very unique vibe.
My server was attentive throughout the meal, cleaning away plates as soon as they were finished and refilling drinks before they were emptied. He was also extremely knowledgeable about the restaurant and able to answer any question I asked. While doing research after the meal and seeing some pictures, I came to a revelation that this was actually the owner.
The dishes came out quickly after I ordered them. This was good because there were only a few other parties in the restaurant on 12/12/12 as the night took hold, enveloping the land with darkness. I had decided this was a more appropriate date for The Apocalypse than what the Mayans foretold.
I shall begin this tale with the fried mushrooms ($5.95) because they are one of my favorite appetizers, and I wanted to give The Apocalypse’s version a shot. I was glad that I did. The mushrooms were coated in a smooth batter and deep-fried to a vibrant golden tone, and they were steaming hot and crispy with a savory, buttery flavor. These have now become one of my new fried mushroom treasures in our area. I will try not to hoard them.
The pasta dish I ordered included a side salad, but I went for an upgrade to their “famous” Greek salad for 85 cents. This salad consisted of lettuce, tomato chunks, onions, pickled pepperoncini peppers, Kalamata olives, feta cheese and Greek dressing (vinegar and olive oil). This was a fairly straightforward Greek salad, hitting key components with fresh ingredients and finishing off the first act of this flavor drama with hope for what was to come.
When the main dishes arrived, I first grabbed a slice of the 6-inch version of their Santorini pizza ($6.95)-the island of Santorini is one of the popular possible locations of Atlantis, a former mighty city whose apocalyptic end was recounted in Plato’s famous dialogue “Critias.” This mighty pizza met a similar fate, devoured quickly by a maelstrom of hungry mouths.
The Santorini pizza was loaded with spinach, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and mozzarella and feta cheeses, topping a delightfully cottony crust with a crisp bottom. The soft top welcomed in the ingredients, which melded down into its cloudlike interior, distributing their flavors throughout the crust as it baked.
Other than the Greek-inspired ingredients, Greek-style crust is baked in an oiled pan rather than sitting directly in the oven, which gives it a crispy bottom. This pizza dough was made from scratch, and I could tell-pizza and I go way back.
I can’t say the same for the seafood pasta ($12.95), which had sautéed shrimp, scallops and New Zealand mussels tossed with fettuccini and covered in an alfredo sauce. The pasta was overcooked and way too soft, but that wasn’t even the worst part of it.
Unlike the pizza, I have a hard time believing this alfredo sauce was made from scratch. It tasted like a prepackaged sauce and was bland, other than the fact that it was loaded with salt-seeming just slightly less salty than the oceans these sea critters came from before their demise.
As far as the shellfish, both the shrimp and scallops were overcooked with a dry, slightly rubbery texture. The New Zealand mussels were the only good component of the dish, but even those weren’t the large, green-lipped variety mostly associated with New Zealand. Their texture was OK, but it was hard to tell any discernible difference in flavors from American mussels because the salty alfredo drowning the dish overpowered everything.
The toasted garlic bread served to the side was good, and I enjoyed it more than the dish itself.
Next, I tried their gyro wrap ($6.25), which had fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions and creamy tzatziki sauce wrapped with the meat in a warm pita. Gyro meat is traditionally made from ground lamb and/or other meats blended with spices, formed into a mold and roasted on a spit, but it can also be cooked in an oven.
This lamb (and possibly beef) mixture was juicy and nicely spiced with herbs and hearty garlic, onions and peppercorn Zeus-like thunderbolts of flavors, perfectly complementing the more genteel components of the dish.
My final judgment was on the tiramisu ($4.95), a duomo of coffee- and liqueur-soaked ladyfingers layered with a sweetened mascarpone and egg mixture. Domes of cocoa-powdered, chocolate-drizzled, whipped cream topped the main structure and adorned its four corners. This heavenly dessert had my taste buds singing like choirs of angels with each bite. And when the cocoa dust settled on its empty plate and this journey was over, I was left with an overall sense of contentment. This epic clash of good and evil dishes was complete.
In this post-apocalyptic inscription of my experience, I’ve decided to give The Apocalypse 2 stars. It’s a shame that the most expensive item I ordered was the one to cast a woeful shadow across the good highlights of the meal. The quality of the pasta, compared with everything else, seemed like it was from a different place. However, the great service and strength of the other dishes were colossal, holding this review afloat from sinking into the abyss of the star rankings. Especially the pizza-it alone is worth a trip to Fort O.
Roman Flis is a wandering writer, focusing on Chattanooga’s food scene. You can find him at romanflis.com or on Facebook and Twitter, or you can contact him at [email protected]. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.