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That’s something you may hear if you visit Fazzi’s Restaurant and Bar in Collinsville anytime soon. It’s a Greek exclamation expressing joy or high spirits and it’s the best way to describe my recent visit to Fazzi’s Restaurant and Bar in Collinsville.
Fazzi’s is tagged as a restaurant specializing in Greek, Italian and American cuisine and I recently visited with a group  of seven friends to check it out. All of us were new to the Fazzi’s experience and none of us went away dissatisfied.
The legend of Fazzi’s has been growing throughout the area due to its signature appetizer — saganaki.
Saganaki refers to a variety of Greek dishes cooked in a small frying pan. The dish’s name references the pan itself. Most notably the saganaki entrée is served as an appetizer of fried cheese (made from a variety of Greek cheeses) and that’s exactly what they serve at Fazzi’s.
At Fazzi’s, the server comes out from the kitchen with the cheese in the pan, takes a lighter and ignites it right next to your table. As the bright yellow flames shoot high toward the ceiling, it is quickly extinguished and a plate of sizzling fried cheese is sat in front of you.
My party ordered — not one — not two — but three orders of this strange and unique dish, myself included of course. John, Dustin and I all three went with the flaming appetizer and none of us were disappointed.
First of all, it’s pretty awesome to see this giant flame materialize in nano seconds right before your eyes. Then to your amazement, you see a perfect, golden-brown plate of cheese sitting in there when you’re sure it’s going to be charred beyond recognition. Then there’s the taste, delicious.
The cheese is piping hot and practically liquefied inside a crusted shell. The taste of the oils used to ignite the flame makes it magnificent and the sweetness of the Greek cheeses puts it over the top. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience between the taste and the pageantry.
As for other appetizers ordered, Steve went with the calamari which was decent also, but didn’t hold a candle to the saganaki.
As for main courses, John, Dustin, Brent and Dave went with the old Greek standby, the Gyro plate. The Gyro plate is served with a heaping of Gyro meat (lamb or a combo of lamb and beef), the Tzatziki sauce (made of strained yogurt from sheep or goat milk), tomatoes, onions and feta cheese served on pita bread. It also comes with a Greek salad. All four were familiar with Gyros from other restaurants and none of them were disappointed in Fazzi’s offering.
Steve went with the blackened tilapia and was quite pleased with it. I pilfered a bite and it was tender and had a fresh taste.
Alicia ordered a giant Greek salad and strayed to the Italian portion of the menu, ordering a side of mostaccioli and she was plenty pleased, too. The Greek salad consisted of green peppers, mushrooms, red onions, feta cheese and mixed with Fazzi’s special Greek dressing.
Finally, I stayed with the Greek cuisine and went slightly more adventurous, ordering the Moussaka. I compare this to the Greek version of lasagna. It is layers of seasoned ground beef, potatoes and eggplant baked with a Béchamel sauce (milk, onion and chicken broth).
Layered the way it is, it definitely takes on the look of a Greek cousin to lasagna, but it’s way different in taste. 
The Béchamel sauce is the all-star of this dish. It is sweet with the fluffy consistency of a custard or thick whip cream. The taste was heavenly. The sweetness of the sauce meshed nicely with the saltiness of the meat and potatoes and the eggplant. 
I will admit that it is extremely filling. Even yours truly had to request a to-go box, but it was just about as good reheated as the original out of the oven.
As for the rest of the Fazzi’s menu, there is plenty to choose from and the choices span a wide spectrum.
On the appetizer menu besides the saganaki and the calamari, there are various selections like: the hummus or tzatziki dip served with pita bread, breaded zucchini, toasted ravioli, crab cakes and Fazzi’s jumbo hot wings to name a few.
Moving to the soup and salad portion of the menu, there’s the Greek salad and then a Gyro salad, a buffalo chicken salad and the chicken avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce) soup, consisting of homemade chicken, rice and lemon.
The main entrées offer a variety. There’s the chicken parmigiano, chicken kabobs and chicken modego with mushrooms and garlic, a special avgolemono sauce and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. There’s the pastichio, layers of seasoned ground beef and tubular noodles with Fazzi’s Béchamel sauce baked in it and the dolmades, five grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice then baked and topped with the avgolemono sauce.
There are also steaks and pork chops available, as well as burgers and sandwiches and a seafood portion of the menu which has: tilapia, fried shrimp, catfish and the stuffed sole (flatfish), an eight ounce sole stuffed with Fazzi’s special crab meat mixture and topped with a creamy garlic sauce.
The pasta portion of the menu also includes: shrimp or chicken picatta, shrimp or chicken alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs and herb salmon or chicken pasta to name a few choices.
You can also hit up the Fazzi’s dessert menu which only includes three items, turtle cheesecake, rice pudding and baklava. I would like to try the baklava on my next visit. It consists of phyllo dough filled with chopped walnuts and sweetened with honey.
As for the setting, Fazzi’s has a large and open dining area. We had to wait a short time for the hostess to have some tables pushed together to accommodate our large party, but once they did there was plenty of space and we were very comfortable. It’s a laid back atmosphere and family friendly. It also has a full bar if you would like to partake in some adult beverages.
Price-wise, it’s not too bad. My saganaki was only $5.99 and the moussaka only cost $9.99. The most expensive item on the menu was the 16 ounce New York strip steak at $17.99.
I’ll definitely make a return trip and I think the rest of my dinner party agrees, if you gotta eat, Fazzi’s is definitely a place to check out.

What: Fazzi’s Restaurant and Bar
Where: 1813 Vandalia in Collinsville
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

Seating: 120
Handicap-accessible: Yes
Carryouts: Yes

Information: Call 618-344-5440 or visit fazzis.com

Fazzi's Own Spinach Pie