The first thing that greets you at the Greek Bistro is a window cling of a beautiful girl holding a beautiful gyro. The second thing is the smell—the ambrosia of olive oil, honey and saffron that only a Mediterranean restaurant can conjure.
An Armenian family took over the Henderson Bistro several years ago, and they run the front of the house with Old World warmth and attention to detail. The kitchen is home to a veteran chef who started when the restaurant did, and his take on the essential Greek menu has made it both a neighborhood favorite and destination.
Housed in a typical suburban strip mall, the space is brightened with charming touches, including silk sunflower bouquets, table linens the color of the Aegean Sea and a few stenciled words from Aphrodite: The heart of Greece lies in its food. Every bite is like a kiss.
Starters to sweets, the Bistro honors her sentiment. For a change from hummus and falafel (both delicious), try limbering up your palate with dolmades ($5.95). Best served warm, the nuggets of rice flavored with onions and herbs are cooked in grape leaves and sprinkled with crushed oregano and salty-sweet Aleppo pepper. Dipped in tzadziki’s mix of yogurt, citrus and cucumber, the dish emphasizes contrasting mouth feels and flavors.
- Greek Bistro
- 565 Marks St., 838-8555.
- Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Most Americans have tried a gyro, the ubiquitous Greek sandwich of roasted lamb, feta cheese and roughage on pita bread, and the Bistro’s version ($8.99) makes a solid case for its popularity. Lesser known but just as tasty, the house specialty moussaka ($13.95) is a savory pie of eggplant, potatoes and ground beef with a heady mix of spices that perfumes the room.
The lamb shank ($15.95) is also a crowd-pleaser. Served bone-in, the exceedingly tender meat is glazed in secret-recipe gravy so addicting you’ll end up using it on the rice and maybe even the salad. With a couple bottles of Mythos beer ($3.75), it’s the perfect entrée to split.
Why split it? One very, very long word—galaktobouriko. Don’t try to pronounce it. Just point and prepare for toasted layers of gossamer pastry cracking open (like good crème brûlée) to reveal a hot filling of semolina custard crowned with honey and almonds. If a kiss from Aphrodite is half as good, the myths about her thousands of devoted lovers make perfect sense.