The Family Tree Restaurant in Amherst, NY has been a staple in my family since before I was born. My grandma took my mom here. Now, my mom takes me here. One day, I’ll take my cats here. Once I was born, my parents would order me the free Mickey Mouse pancakes. I’ve since upgraded from the Mickey Mouse pancakes after having tried my dad’s regular choice; a western omelet with feta cheese, and I’ve stuck to that ever since. Until this blog changed my life.
Our server (I went with my mom,) Dena, had trouble answering my question of what the least ordered menu item was, so she had to call over another server, Joan, who had been working there for over 30 years, to help her decide. Joan still had to think a little bit as to what the least ordered dish was, but eventually, Dena and Joan came to the consensus that the moussaka and the pastitsio were the least ordered dishes. I chose the moussaka out of the two because Dena said it was the better of the two. Remember, I’m not trying to find the most disgusting thing on the menu, so if both are equally unpopular, I’m still going to go with what might be better.
In my opinion, it’s a little weird that a Greek restaurant’s least ordered dishes were Greek dishes, but I guess a lot of the people here have their regular meals, like me, and don’t stray from that. Or as Dena explained, “people are afraid to try something new.” We both agreed that people know eggplant, a main ingredient in moussaka, from eggplant parmesan and that’s it, but people don’t really realize that Greece and Italy are both Mediterranean countries, so it’s not that far out of reach from what they’re used to.
Moussaka is a unique dish, if not a little confusing. It is topped with béchamel, which is just butter, flour, and milk traditionally, but this version seemed like it had eggs in it due to it being very light and fluffy, like merengue. That was probably my favorite aspect of the dish, but I mean who doesn’t like rich food? The ground beef was seasoned interestingly, and I did not prefer to eat it unless it was in bites with the rest of the food. Upon further research, my mom found out that it is typically seasoned with nutmeg (I thought it was cinnamon upon tasting,) which was why the flavor was so strong. Unfortunately, the eggplant was mushy, which eggplant tends to become if you don’t salt and pat it dry first…or if you just overcook it. Overall, the flavors all together complemented each other nicely, but if you’re not one for straying from the path for unique foods, you probably would think this is yucky. Or if you want to take it from another angle, it’s an acquired taste, but I think that approach to anything is dumb. Why would you keep eating or drinking (beer) something that you don’t like to try and force yourself to like it? Anyway, I digress.
In another way, I think I have come full circle at The Family Tree. The meal came with your choice of soup or salad and since my mom and I were splitting the meal, we were going to split the soup as well, but Dena gave us an extra cup of soup on the house. Free Mickey Mouse pancakes for being a cute, adorable baby to free soup for being a super famous food blogger.