Throughout the world, there are signature sandwiches for nearly every culture. We Americans regularly consume a gigantic array of filled-bun treats: hot dogs, burgers, subs, hoagies. For Italians, it’s the panini; the French love their croque-monsieur. The Vietnamese have bánh mì. Each has had its moment of sandwich glory. The Greek souvlaki has yet to see its day in the States, but Souvlaki GR (116 Stanton Street; 212-777-0116) serves an excellent selection for a steal.
Served on warm, airy pita, each one comes chock-full of well-seasoned fillings: anything-but-basic chicken or pork (both of which are marinated in a fresh blend of Greek herbs, oil, and spices) with tomato, red onion, fries, and tzatziki for just $6. For an extra dollar, the yogurt sauce can be upgraded to tyrokafteri, a spicy feta dip. Same goes for the veggie pita ($5.50), a mix of fresh tomato, cucumber, red onions, fries, kalamata olives, and tzatziki. You won’t go wrong with any of those; however, the SGR bifteki pita ($8) is the most unique offering — ground beef scented with oregano, shaped into burger form, is topped with tomato, red onion, feta cheese, and a heavy dose of the piquant feta sauce. Just like the other versions, the filling is encased in the wrap as if by a down comforter, sealing the spices and the juices in a cozy, flavorful case.
Absolutely everything here is marinated and flavored just as one would find in the motherland. There’s nothing overpowering or overindulgent, just straightforward fare made from fresh, (mostly) healthy ingredients. No wonder there are so many people espousing the benefits of eating like the Greeks.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 12, 2015