Not Just Greek To Go
63-02 Woodhaven Blvd., Rego Park
HOURS: 11 am-11 pm, daily
CREDIT CARDS: All major
Good Greek food is not hard to find in Queens, but you normally have to venture to Astoria or Whitestone to find it. If you live in the central part of the borough, your only real options for authentic cuisine of any kind are pizza, pastrami, and perhaps sushi.
But now a new eatery on Woodhaven Boulevard aims to bring the tasty Eastern Mediterranean closer to home.
Gyro Grill has only been open since late summer, but already has begun to develop a loyal following of regular customers. Situated on the busy corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Avenue, north of Penelope Avenue, Gyro Grill is mostly geared toward take out. There are a few tables if you should choose to eat in, and many do. The cooks and servers watch over from behind the counter where kabobs sizzle on the grill and chicken and lamb and beef columns rotate as they cook, ready to be shaved for a gyro order. On the side of the restaurant, along 63rd Avenue, delivery bikes are chained to the side door.
On this chilly autumn Friday afternoon, one group sits in the far corner of the restaurant for a while after they finish eating, talking amongst themselves like a group of friends at a European coffee shop.
I sat at a small table overlooking the sidewalk and afternoon traffic on Woodhaven Boulevard. Carol, the co-owner of Gyro Grill, brought me a smorgasbord of the most popular menu items. First, a generous helping of homemade spinach pie - and by generous, I mean more like a slab than a slice.
Besides the spinach pie, I was treated to a plate of gyro meat, including chicken and a shaved lamb and beef combo. The chicken came with its own sauce, one of about four I was given. The special chicken sauce gave it an exciting flavor. Though often chicken can be dry and short on flavor, this chicken was a moist and tender panoply of tastes. The lamb and beef combo was fused with a delightful spice that gave it a kick that was tempered by the tzatziki sauce.
The whole meal was accompanied nicely with several slices of fresh, soft pita bread, the only item that isn't made on site.
Added to my meal was a plate of baked lemon potatoes. Peeled and sliced into wedges, the potatoes were glazed in a lemony sauce that made it the perfect side dish- French Fries have nothing on these bad boys.
Also included in my meal was a taste of Gyro Grill's falafel. Rolled into a crispy ball, the falafel's bite was perfectly complemented by the tzatziki.
Too full for dessert, I brought home some honey-rich and nutty baklava, which made a perfect ending to the day.
Gyro Grill's menu is stock full of salads and sides to mix and match your dinner. They also do catering for occasions.
The one thing Gyro Gill doesn't have yet is a full dessert and coffee menu. Baklava is the only after-dinner treat they have, which is well worth the trip, but Carol said they're looking to add coffee and more dessert options, which means we expect the takeout Mediterranean grill may see another future as a local coffee house.
Who wouldn't want to venture out on a cold night for a tasty Gyro, followed by a cup of Greek coffee and some baklava? I know I can't wait to go back.
- Domenick Rafter