Restaurant review: Greek Express delivers the expected gyro goods in a handsome setting

From the April 24, 2014 edition

When the gyro hankering calls — and hey, it happens — and you want it cheap, easy and right away (let’s be frank, those modifiers usually come with the gyro-craving territory), the newish Greek Express in Grandview is a solid option. Though in essence a fast-food joint with a drive-through, this family-owned Greek Express (it’s a mini-chain of five spit-slicers) doesn’t look a bit like those depressing prefab operations common to the fast-food genre.

No, the patio-equipped and impeccably spotless Greek Express is surprisingly handsome and modern inside. Instead of glaringly bright, its earth-toned, stone-and-wood dining room features track-lighting hushed from blue lamp shades. There are also booths, a flatscreen and ancient-Greek-vase-like decorative plates.

Food-wise, there are no surprises, but in this case, that’s not a bad thing. So all those familiar flavors and textures that hooked you on spinning sandwich meat in the first place appear here in all their junky glory — only fresher.

Gyros (pro-tip: request ’em with the good and garlicky — and free — tzatziki sauce) come in three sizes: not-that-tiny “mini” ($3.29), plenty-big “regular” ($4.49), and filled-to-the gills “supreme” ($5.79). Guess which one I ordered.

Should you also order a supreme, expect a mess. Probably better eaten with a knife and fork — or through a feedbag — the imposingly girthed ensemble features a warm, soft and puffy pita jammed with so much meat (standard-issue, oregano-and-lamb-scented, cone-loaf from Kronos Foods) and expected fixins (sliced iceberg, onions and tomatoes) that, upon contact with your ravenous teeth, stuff continuously spills out. The overloaded sandwich also has a tendency to just fall apart on its own. My advice is to eat your supreme gyro leaning over GE’s crispy, un-greasy and pleasantly seasoned-salted fries (a deal at $2), thereby creating eat-it-while-you-make-it Greek poutine.

Though tidier, the Chicken Gyro — which featured extremely tender and juicy meat — was so lightly seasoned it relied on the fixins for flavor. Splashing it with tableside hot sauce increased its appeal.

Botanical heat likewise made a chalkboard-advertised Spicy Feta Cheese Dip ($5) more alluring. Briny, paprika-kissed and providing just a little kick, if you see this easy-to-love old warhorse offered, order it.

Moral: If you wanna sate your Hellenic fast food craving in a spruced-up setting, Greek Express is a great place to go.

Photo by Tim Johnson