If you hit the new Gyrolicious Greek Grill in Jericho on a frantic Friday night, prepare to wait. For your table -- and your meal, too. Pass the time by checking out the neutral-toned dining room filled with people digging into heaping plates of food.
Once seated, order the sampler platter of dips: briny taramasalata, or roe dip, spiced pepper feta, smoky eggplant salad and a lovely hummus redolent of garlic and tahini. In contrast, grilled octopus is chewy with a vinegary edge. One night, a beef souvlaki stick (wood skewer) features somewhat overcooked meat; another, a pork version oozes savory juices.
A generous Greek salad starring bright greens and deep red, ripe tomatoes is the gratis course before most entrees. On a quiet weeknight, that same salad turns up in place of the horiatiki salad ordered as a starter. A correction is made, and the combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta and olives in a simple olive oil dressing proves a big hit.
Gyrolicious co-owner Carie Volonakis takes pride in the restaurant's house-made gyro. Chicken gyro, slivers of white and dark marinated meat, turns out moist and savory. But the savory ground beef and lamb version -- in essence, meatballs stacked around a cone before being rotisserie-roasted -- is sliced off and thrown on the grill, making the edges crisp and dry. Also somewhat overcooked is the shellfish on a shrimp kebab platter. But grilled chicken -- marinated boneless breasts -- is juicy and full of flavor. You'll want to opt for lemon potatoes on the side; they're truly delicious, hard to stop eating.
A standout sandwich features crispy fried falafel and hummus stuffed into pita, along with lettuce, tomato and onion and tzatziki sauce. Although a lamb kebab sandwich is very good, instead of the expected grilled cubes of lamb, it's done with spiced ground lamb formed into oblongs and grilled. "That's the way we make it," says the waitress who, according to Volonakis, should have explained the dish from the outset. A clear menu description would have been even better.
Rice pudding, packaged to go, is the only house-made dessert. It's OK, but you'll probably be too stuffed to do more than gather up your doggy bags with the makings of tomorrow's lunch.