Tuesday, July 30, 2019

GreCo: Gyros & Loukoumades at the Seaport

I've long been a fan of Gre.Co (meaning Greece & Company) on Newbury Street, loving their fresh Gyros and Loukoumades. The Newbury Street location is small and intimate and now there is a new location of GreCo, in the Seaport region, and it is much larger and more spacious. You'll find the same delicious food there, but a few new items and even some wine and beer.

I recently attended a media preview of this new location, which is now open to the public. The restaurant is lengthy and spacious, with plenty of small tables, counter seating, and a few larger tables as well. It has a modern look and will soon have patio seating as well, so you can dine outside with a cooling breeze from the sea.

At one end of the restaurant is a large table, that is almost in its own room, giving some privacy to diners.

Around the corner from that large table, you'll find a quote on the wall from The Odyssey by Homer, "A guest never forgets the host who has treated him kindly."

Like an assembly line, you order at the counter and the various employees will out together your meal. Much of the menu is similar to what you'll find at Newbury Street, except there are a few new dishes. The Seaport locations still prepares its foods, marinating their meats for about 24 hours, using their own house-made marinades. The Pitas are cooked on the grill, ensuring they are fresh and hot.

The food menu is dominated by seven different types of Gyros, all which are served in a warm pita with tomatoes, onions and hand-cut potatoes. The seven Gyros (priced $8.50-$10.50) include the Pork (with tzatziki), Chicken (with honey mustard), Lamb (with tomato jam), Bifteki (ground beef with spicy whipped feta), Loukaniko (pork and leek sausage with mustard sauce), Veggie (squash fritter with lemon yogurt sauce), and Mushroom (braised mushrooms with Greek fava). As everything is made to order, you can also customize your own Gyro, choosing your own protein and sauce combination.

I'm partial to the tasty Lamb Gyro, which is was packed with plenty of tender and flavorful meat. The tomato jam adds nice acidity and a little sweetness to the gyro. The addition of the salty fries also enhanced the gyro. This is quality fast casual food.

As a slight variation, you can also have a Salad ($10.50) or Plate ($11.50), selecting your own protein and sauce combination, and each also comes with pita bread. The Plate also comes with a side. You can order a salad on its own, including the Horiatiki ($8.50), Cretan ($8.00), Mykonos ($8.00), and Kos ($9.00). There are also a small number of Soup & Sides, such as Avgolemono (egg lemon soup, $3.50) and Greek Slaw ($2.50).

One new item on their menu was the Greek Summer Gazpacho ($6), made with chilled tomato, onion, cucumber, red pepper, roasted pine nut and feta mousse. Refreshing and flavorful, with bright cucumber accents, I especially loved the hunk of feta in the soup, adding a briny edge to the soup. Highly recommended.

As for Sides, you can order the Homemade Dips, served with with Pita ($4), selecting Tzatziki, Spicy Whipped Feta, Charred Eggplant of Greek Fava. The Gre.co Fries ($4.5), hand-cut potatoes with feta, are addictive. The crisp fries, with a fluffy interior, are enhanced by the salty, creaminess of the feta.

Who wouldn't love Loukoumas, Greek donuts? You can even watch them making your Loukoumas for you! They come in five different flavors, $5-$6.50, including Classic (Greek honey, walnuts and cinnamon), Yaya’s (hazelnut praline, oreo cookies, powdered sugar), Bougatsa (custard creme, phyllo, cinnamon, powdered sugar), Lady Marmalade (fig marmalade, yogurt mousse, toasted almonds), and Choco Loco (white chocolate ganache, wafer crumble, cocoa powder).

The Bougatsa was a decadent treat, with the sweet and creamy custard, lightly crisp phyllo and hot donuts. This is the type of treat to make you forget about your diet.

The Classic remains a delicious option, the walnuts adding a nice crunchy texture to enhance the light and fluffy loukoumas.

GreCo has upped their beverage program, adding both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. For Coffee, you'll find Freddo Expresso, Freddo Cappucino and Frappe (Greek iced coffee). You'll also find non-alcoholic options like Greco-Jito (basil, cucumber & honey), Tsai (Greek mountain tea, honey, ginger & lemon), and Homer's Punch (watermelon, star anise, mint & lemon). The Greco-Jito was refreshing and tasty, an excellent summer drink.

For alcoholic options, they have a Greco “Opa Opa” Light Lager ($6), which is made exclusively for them, as well as a Seasonal Beer ($5.50). For wine, there are two options, a White and a Red, both from the Karavitakis Winery of Crete. The Karavitakis Little Prince White ($6.50) is a blend of about 65% Vilana and 35% Vidiano. This wine is bright and crisp, with notes of lemon, citrus and pear. A pleasant summery wine, perfect for sipping on the patio. The Karavitakis Little Prince Red ($8) is a blend of 65% Kotsifali and 35% Mandilari. Smooth and easy drinking, there is still depth to this wine, with pleasant black fruit flavors, including plum and black cherry. There is a freshness to this wine as well, and it paired very well with a lamb gyro. I'm especially pleased that both wines use indigenous Greek grapes, helping people to expand their palates and experience these delicious wines.

I suspect GreCo in the Seaport will do very well. It offers reasonably priced, delicious and quality fast casual food. The restaurant is aesthetically pleasing and is one of the better new options in the Seaport region. I know that when I'm in the Seaport, it will always be one of my top choices. And you can look forward to more locations of GreCo opening in other parts of Boston in the future.

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