The good folks at Meraki Greek Street Food got in touch recently to invite me to the soft opening of their new eatery at 8th and Front Streets in downtown Boise, in what used to be the Proto's Pizza spot next to Five Guys. No idea why other than that I shared a link to their Kickstarter on my Facebook and Instagram pages. The Kickstarter was ultimately unsuccessful, but luckily they didn't hold that against me.
I brought Ms. Golden Rule along for the ride, which was nice because it's been a while since we broke in a new place together. The interior is modern, subdued, and almost utilitarian but for some soft touches.
I'm not sure what the final full menu will include, but I do know one thing:
|Yes, there will be gyros.|
Actually, I also know that there will be a LOT of drink options. When we showed up, there were two bottled import beers, another half dozen beers and a cider on draft, four wines, root and ginger beers from Bucksnort...
|Not to mention the fountain options!|
No sooner had I stepped up to the counter than I was informed they were out of the lamb/beef combo. I won't lie, I froze for a moment. I mean they were only 90 minutes into the soft opening. What happened? Who knows? Maybe it fell victim to excessive sampling. I know that's the reason I don't keep a gyro spit at home myself.
This bothered MGR not a lick since she already had her mind set on the chicken. Me, I generally eat chicken only as a last resort in most instances, and I wasn't feeling adventurous enough to try the fava croquettes; pork it would be. We decided to sample the dips plate from the sides menu as well.
We were served little triangles of grilled pita along with a selection of dips: fava spread, tzatziki, spicy feta, and more tzatziki. We weren't sure if there was supposed to be a difference between the two mounds of tzatziki, but we both noticed that once tasted strongly of cucumber while the other was much heavier on garlic. Either way, both were good. I was ambivalent about the fava option, but MGR really dug it. The spicy feta was the clear winner at our table though. I just wanted to try it on everything on the menu. Fries? Salad? Bring it on! Not this night, though. I still had a sandwich to deal with.
There are a number of places in and around Boise that serve gyros. A surprising amount, really. Of course beef or beef and lamb are the most common, but most of them have other options available. Usually a chicken and/or a veggie option like falafel. Pork was a new one for me. I was happily surprised to see that the meat seemed to have been prepared the same way as the normal option would have been, shaved and juicy with crispy bits from the rotisserie-type cooking process. Even more surprising was that the chicken in my companion's sandwich was exactly the same way, and I have NEVER seen that before. I've seen lots of chopped or shredded chicken in "gyros", but never shaved. And for those of you who think that texture isn't integral to the gyro experience...well, you're just plain wrong. I mean the word comes from the Greek for "turn". That spit roasting process is the whole point! The rest of it was just as good. The sauces, veggies, fries, everything was delicious. They had even managed to grill the pita without turning it into rubber, just a little toasting and charring to give the flavor a little more depth. I have no hesitation about declaring this the best gyro I've had in the Valley by far, even if it did have the "wrong" meat.
So yeah, I recommend the place. Heartily. If they can make a gyro that good with pork, I can't wait to try the lamb version. And MGR's only complaint was "Why no dessert?", which was actually heartfelt and kind of sad if you could see the look in her eyes. In her ideal world. every eatery from the loftiest French restaurant to the lowliest street food shack would have at least one dessert offering. I digress. Wondering when you can sample Meraki's wares for yourself?
So now you know. Starting Saturday, you'll be able to treat your taste buds and support a really good new indie eatery at the same time. Tell 'em Track sent ya. And while you're at it, you might mention that they should start stocking up on that spicy feta, because I'm going back for a lot more of that.