Our new local restaurant critic ‘The Viand Pundit’ reviews Snack Gyros
The following is a new column by ‘The Viand Pundit,’ our new, anonymous restaurant critic:
A short review by The Viand Pundit
15217 6th Ave SW
Burien, WA 98166
This nice little restaurant offers a variety of tasty Mediterranean foods that meet the requirements of Islamic Halal, which is somewhat similar to the strict cleanliness requirements of kosher foods and of meat slaughter, and that is a good thing. The overall visual appearance is very clean from the kitchen to the public washrooms. The table seating is close and open with the option for outside seating in the front. This restaurant’s ambiance is mostly bright, with some very light kitchen clatter due to the limited space. Meals are served on cafeteria style trays with disposable plates and flatware. The parking is limited, but free.
I began with two appetizers, the first being SPINAKO which is just like Greek spinakopia as it is based on a thin leafy phyllo pastry dough with a properly balanced filling of spinach and feta cheese. The portion is generous and I found it well made. The flavor is not overwhelming and allowed the progression to the second appetizer. I choose the DOLMAS (Stuffed Grape Leaves) 8 rolls and again it is very similar to the Greek Dolmathis with its rolled wrapper of noticeably brined grape leaves. I could detect that the key flavor and aroma of the cooked rice is somewhere between brown rice and basmati rice. While the usual flavor of tomato was missing or absent, the flavors of Corinthian raisins, pinon nuts, cinnamon, allspice and touch of cumin filled in the void of the tomato. I thought I detected a trace of mint in an aftertaste. I found it to be very pleasant and again a generous portion. A lemon garnish is served on the side that I did not care to use.
We now approach the main course and the specialty here, in my opinion, is the GYROS Lamb/Beef. Gyros is the name used here; but historically the first meat ever cooked on a vertical rotisserie was called a Turkish Doner kebab. It was the Greeks who had trouble with the names pronunciation and much later coined the word Gyros which means “to spin or turn.” Regardless of the name, this wonderful mixture of spinning conical beef and lamb are perfectly trimmed into strips that are served wrapped in a warm pita flat-bread. The top is loaded with tomato, onion and feta cheese. There is a pleasant change up in a spicy sauce that is more complex than the usual tzatziki cucumber yogurt sauce and the components were in line with middle eastern spices. Having a shared heredity through the Ottoman region, these amazing array of imported spices that were available to the chefs was a gastronomic blessing that persists today through many portals of entry. So therefore, this unique version of this dish is truly my favorite here, and with greater fortune for the very hungry appetite there is even a larger size for a few bucks more. For those patrons who require a leaner version that is not so rich, there is a chicken version of the gyro. For those who worry about issues of carbohydrate intake the chef also has a Gyros Salad which is the same as the regular Gyros but rather simply served on a plate, sans the bread.
French fries are not the first thing that comes to mind in Mediterranean foods, but the deep fried fritters that are produced here have been fried quite honestly at the just the right temperature, creating that perfect union between crispy outer texture and a steamy smooth inner portion. They were not all greasy as all too often others places have undercooked the fries and the result is a greasy, limp and soggy potato noodle.
Available also are Greek fries that I had no extra room to try, but it appears to have a generous and nice toppings that makes it more of a meal.
Perhaps on the next visit because there is only room left for dessert and although the selection is limited, I found delectable treats that would tempt just about any sweet tooth and none would be complete without a serving of TURKISH COFFEE. This very strong/sweet coffee beverage is stove heated in the single serving traditional copper Turkish coffee pot with a handle. The dainty bright floral modern floral Turkish espresso cup is the classic very thin porcelain, designed to keep your coffee warmer longer. It was deliciously intense that allows you drink slowly, savoring the flavors sip by sip – no rushing when the enjoyment is this great. When a beverage is this outstanding, you will want to try one or both of the two desserts that were available that day. I just had to try the BAKALAVA and this version was the phyllo dough, honey variety. The essence of the unsalted butter and cinnamon/sugar with a dash of lemon balanced out the walnuts although I also tasted some pistachio. It is so interesting to note that almost all the sweet treats from the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, region of Armenians, Turks, Balkans, Bulgarians, Caucasia, Arabs, Jews, Greeks alike all claim baklava as their national dessert. That is not too unusual when we realize that all of these regions were once the Ottoman Empire.
At this point I barely had room left for one last treat, and so it was that I saved the HALAWA PISTACHIO for last. This version of halva is expected to be crumbly and incorporates a sesame paste and flour simply with pistachio nuts. It did not disappoint me at all.
As with most restaurants, it takes a couple of investigative trips to try all the selections and to develop your own personal favorites.
I am confident that you will discover great new taste adventures at Snack Gyros restaurant, in Burien!
Thank you for enjoying this article.
– The Viand Pundit