On Diners: Tzatziki Edition

If you’ve been a loyal BHS reader for awhile, first of all, thank you, and second of all, you already know all about my diner love. My parents brought me up in diners during our frequent family vacations up and down the East coast, including the long gone but not forgotten Beaver’s Diner in Halstead, PA, the first Pennsylvanian exit south of New York on Rt. 81, which we would hit for breakfast after one of our hit-the-road early 4 a.m. departures from Watertown on our way to Nags Head, NC or Chattanooga, TN when I was little. Beaver’s hash browns were the bomb.com, and my Dad would coach me to order my eggs just over medium, so the yolks wouldn’t completely run all over the plate.

Now, I’m grown up, and turned out to be a person who likes some pretty fancy food to still carry such affection for diner cuisine. You’re come with me as I’ve scarfed down pork belly, octopus, pate, fried chicken skins, raw oysters, fresh wasabi, and fine steaks. But I will crave those diner classics – chocolate milk, open-faced sandwiches smothered in gravy, monte cristos, and homemade soups - always. I’ve written about the Koffee Kove way up in Clayton, the Neptune in Oneonta, and Ponzio’s in NJ, but probably one of my favorite NY diners is Roscoe’s, down in the Catskills, along Rt. 17. In Roscoe, obvs.

And now, the owner of Roscoe’s has, for whatever reason, opened a diner right here in little old Endwell. Occupying the former Crossroads Diner, Nadius opened earlier this year, and Big Hungry Melinda and I hit it up last weekend for a post-workout lunch. And because I’d just walked four whole miles, and because I was already fighting what turned, this week, into fluzilla, I felt like a milkshake was in order. A chocolate milkshake, to be more specific:

Looks good, huh? And it was. Not out-of-this-world terrific, not about to set the culinary landscape on fire, but milky, rather than super-thick, which was really good to have alongside a meal. I feel like a really thick shake is like a dessert item, but a nice milk milkshake works along a soup and sandwich. It was a lunch shake; let’s go with that.

The soup came first, as it does. I chose the beef barley, and I liked it. It was served super hot, and was chock full of tender veggies. There was not much beef at all, and very little barely, so vegetable beef with barley may have been a better descriptor, but let’s not split hairs here, shall we? I liked that the big chunks of potato weren’t disintegrating in the broth, and that the broth itself was well-seasoned. Again, this was not a monolith of gastronomic ingenuity, but it didn’t need to be. It was tasty.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been ordering hot turkey sandwiches in diners. For my money (or my Dad’s, I guess, if we’re talking ghosts of sandwiches past), you just can’t beat and open-faced sandwich crowned with gravy, and served with mashed potatoes or fries with even more gravy. That’s just manna, right there. So Sunday, I went for the hot roast pork sammie, with fries and gravy. I chose the pork because the specials menu has pork roast on it, so I knew the pork would be real pork, and not just thin-sliced deli pork. That is some menu jujitsu, right there. And that pork was delicious, not dried out, and thickly sliced with real meat texture. I’m really picky about that, and while I will eat deli meats, I always prefer roasted meat with the actual texture of meat. OK, have I beat that horse dead enough? I think you get it. So, the pork was good, and I very much liked the gravy, although I’m betting it would have been too salty for most palates. I can handle the salt; you might not be able. The fries were frozen in origin, but acceptable; not stale or under-cooked.

Tasty, crisp pickle, too. I love a crisp dill.

I don’t remember exactly when chicken souvlaki platters replaced hot open-faced sandwiches as my favorite diner meal. It’s been a relatively new development, and I have brought Melinda down the primrose path with me. More accurately, that path is lined with tiny, plastic, delectable cups of tzatziki sauce. Look, I know I talk a lot about tzatziki, but seriously, is there anything better to jazz up salad and chicken, and elevate something ordinary into something creamy, cooling, and exciting? No, there is not. Nadius’ contribution to the souvlaki collective, which Melinda ordered Sunday, did not eclipse The Plaza Diner, in Vestal, as our favorite in the Triple Cities, but it was good. On the souvlaki continuum, this tzatziki was more lemony, this pita less fluffy, and this chicken a little less piquant. However, Melinda liked that the salad on this platter came pre-dressed, whereas the Greek dressing at Plaza is served on the side, for a do-it-yourself arrangement that can sometimes lead to soggy pita or soggy fries. Here is Nadius’ version:

And here is Plaza’s. I encourage you to try both and give us your feedback!

Since we’re comparing the Plaza Diner and Nadius, I should note that, oddly, their menus appear identical. But clearly, the food is different. So I don’t know if the owners of the two joints are related, or what. Maybe they just happen to use the same menu vendor, or maybe there’s some other trickery afoot, but there it is. We liked our lunch at Nadius, and I’m sure I will be back, but The Plaza is still my favorite diner in this area, for now. How about you? My hunger is big; my personality is bigger!

Nadius on Urbanspoon


  1. You said it! Diner cuisine is totally one of the best. It's not downright revolutionary in the culinary scene, but it's always a favorite. That hot pork roast sammie sure looks amazing! Some people don't want too much salt, but I'm with you. I'm in favor of all things salty and delicious. And may you find more great diners to choose from.

    Black Bear Diner