Greek Street is a compact lunch counter on College and as its name suggests, it specializes in fast, affordable Greek street foods. My preconceived notion assumes this means dubious gyros dripping grease as they spin, or feta-topped fries doused in tzatziki - surprisingly, here you will find none of that. There's neither a deep fryer or rotisserie spit on site.
Owner Aristedes Pasparakis is not interested in junk food. While service is fast, the food is traditional, time-intensive, prepared from scratch and finished to order. Spanakopita is one such example, and on my first visit, as I'm mulling over the blackboard menu, Rosemary Goring works away behind the counter painting translucent thin sheets of phyllo with butter, layering them, stuffing them with a house-made mix of spinach, leeks, feta and dill and gently folding them into uniform squares.
"Where'd you learn how to do this?" I ask. "My mother," Goring replies. "We're making pita from scratch too - whole wheat, too."
Music to my ears! I'm a sucker for fresh bread, and it's unexpected from this unassuming fast food joint. Truthfully, this place is in walking distance from my house and I've begun evaluating it based on everyday feasibility. Can I eat this often without growing bored, broke or developing scurvy?
I try the grilled chicken souvlaki ($8) wrapped in the aforementioned pita (puffy and still warm, btw), dressed with a fresh chopped salad and smothered in tzatziki. As an introductory special, a side of citrusy slaw comes on the side, and taxes are all in. Other options today include a pork and kebap (meatball) skewers, and I'm told octopus will find its way to the menu in the near future.
The Spanakopita is out of the oven now too. Gold and flaky, it's served with tzatziki on the side for dipping. The ratio of filling to pastry is spot-on, though the spinach is a little stringy. Appreciatively, this isn't a snack size - I assume, they measured out the cardboard takeaway boxes and built these guys to just fit.
Hilia Fila ($4.25), meaning 1,000 sheets, is on offer for dessert. Like a deconstructed Galaktoboureko, phyllo forms the base and is topped with semolina custard and seasonal fruits like peaches. The pastry is notably salty and accentuates the sweetness of a honey syrup as it soaks into its flakey layers.
Yet to be introduced are a range of Greek yogurt parfaits and smoothies, but most exciting still is the promise of peinirli, a boat shaped, pizza-like flatbread that will come stuffed with different fillings, cheese, maybe even a runny egg.
Greek Street offers only a handful of seats, so take-out is likely the way to go. For now the eatery plans to operate daily from 11:30am to 7:30pm, though it's considering extending hours late on weekends and opening earlier for brunch on weekends.
Photos by Jesse Milns