Friday, July 18, 2014

GRK Fresh Greek Food Review

Lamb & Beef Yeero

Sound the alarm: There's a new kid in town, and he/she's about to turn DC's gyro scene on its head. GRK Fresh Greek opens today near the corner of 19th & M Streets, NW; and if yesterday's media preview was any indication, is poised to become everyone's favorite new yeero. It's already ours.

I'm a sucker for a good gyro, but often find them sold in subpar spots with zero atmosphere. GRK takes a decidedly different approach, selling yeeros inside an oasis-like setting... one that oozes sophistication and style. Honest to God, it's absolutely gorgeous inside. GRK spares no expense in utilizing every inch of space to the fullest, and their attention to detail is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From Excel dryers inside spotless his & her restrooms to a Puck's fountain soda dispenser, GRK uses only the best of everything to represent itself.

Seasoned Fries

Those high standards cross over to food and staff too. The latter appears well-trained and naturally friendly (an awesome combination in food service.) I had conversations with three different workers... all of whom seemed as excited as the owners. That kind of pride (so early on) doesn't just happen... There's a reason, these guys are so happy to be there.

Fresh Yogurt

Nine out of 10, odds are... it's the food. GRK honors its Greek heritage proudly, by using fresh ingredients and a dazzling array of housemade sauces (including a delicious hot sauce that begs to be bottled and sold.) Even the fries are sensational, basked in a coating of garlic, paprika, salt, pepper and Greek oregano (trimmed in-house.) For $3.81, you get a huge bag of 'em, one I emptied in no time flat. Fries are just one of five different sides you can pair with a Pita ($7.53) or Plate ($9.87) Yeero. You can also get Brown Rice (with fresh herbs) Aegean Slaw (with lemon vinaigrette) a Tzatziki Sampler (three assorted for $4.87) or a Side Salad (three choices: Greek, Kale or Lentil.)

As for the main attraction, GRK serves the best yeeros in DC. Period. Granted, it's only day one; but there's no reason to expect any changes in the quality of meat (outstanding, especially the chicken... much to my surprise.) The pita bread is hearty and the tzatziki creamy and flavorful (go for Kaftero - spicy fired-roasted habanero peppers, which isn't as hot as it sounds... but delicious all the same.) They also come expertly wrapped (it's the tuck at the end) which ensures almost mess-free consumption.

Flavors are out of this world. The Lamb & Beef (my choice for the Pita) was crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and bursting with spices all around. The aforementioned chicken had even more flavor (I usually avoid chicken gyros whenever possible) and the Pork was decadent, fatty and juicy. A fourth choice, Portobello makes for a fine vegetarian option; but as you probably know by now, hardly registers a blip on my meat-loving radar. GRK keeps it simple, adding only tomatoes & onions to the meat & sauce: Why mess with perfection? Yeero Plates come with a pita and your choice of sides.


Prepare to be blown away by beautiful aesthetics inside and out. GRK's first DC location (expect more) seats 75 inside, with room for another 36 outside. The front counter looks like an Apple commercial from five years ago; and even the smaller lower level manages to impress with a genius spacing panel that separates the restrooms from the dining area. Heck, even the trash cans look cool.

Great use of space

Other positives worth mentioning (if you're waiting for negatives, you're going to be sadly disappointed... there aren't any)

• Delicious (and authentic) Greek Yogurt, available for dessert. Choose from frozen (sweet) nonfat or 2%, then dress with fig jam, rose petals or a number of other mouth-watering options.

• More attention to detail: Great tray liners. Yes, tray liners: I try not to miss anything.

• You haven't lived until you've had a Puck's fountain drink. Mandarin Orange tastes like a can of mandarin oranges, only sweeter with zip; and Vanilla Cream may be the best soda I've ever had. It's like Cream Soda on steroids.

Puck's fountain drinks... To die for

After a few successful previews, GRK opens for real today. Hours vary. Monday - Thursday, 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday 11:00 AM to 3:00 AM, Saturday Noon to 3:00 AM, and Sunday Noon to 10:00 PM. They literally turned hundreds away yesterday during the one hour I was there... talk about sharks smelling blood yeeros. Smart sharks. Mark my words: This place is gonna be a hit. I can't wait to go back.