Note: I wrote this right before the arrival of my twins and in the haste of the delivery completely forgot to post it. Here you have it six weeks later, Middle Eastern in Greenwood Village.
The other day in the middle of an exhausting day running errands into every corner of Denver and its suburbs, my wife and I found ourselves hungry and at the corner of University and Orchard in Greenwood Village. If you're like many Denverites you might think of Greenwood Village as economically and racially uniform-- void of diversity of any kind. That is mostly a true statement, but it is also true that you will likely find more culinary diversity on this corner than there is in Denver's entire North Cherry Creek neighborhood. I draw the comparison for the obvious similarities between the two areas ($$$), but also partly out of continued spite of all the rampant closings in Cherry Creek over recent years that have all but destroyed any feeble grasp that diversity held in this pocket of Denver; and more specifically because the surviving half of what I thought would always be a Cherry Creek institution-- Chez Jose-- remains standing here in a strip mall.
Normally in this state of hunger I would have walked into the familiar Chez Jose, inhaled a prawn burrito and moved on with my day; but due to my heightened state of blog-potential awareness (my wife has other names for it when she is hungry) another restaurant across the street caught my eye: Tzatziki's. And it was more than the old-school yellow and blue marquee that featured it as a headliner of the classic Cherry Crest Shoppete.
It was more like me wondering what a Middle Eastern restaurant was doing in the middle of this neighborhood. I've already established that Greenwood Village is no Cherry Creek North, but let's be real, the only things brown and white melting in a pot here are chocolate chips behind secure gates and locked doors in a $400 fondue pot.
But of course I jest. There are actually a few good and diverse options to be had in this village, and good food is good food regardless of who makes it or what kind of neighborhood it is made in. I love the idea of cultures mixing, and if that means going to Greenwood Village, so be it. But the question remains after my rambling introduction: How exactly is the food at Tzatziki's?
We started with an order of falafel. I love these little fried balls, and like hummus and pita, I find them a good measure of a restaurant claiming any sort of Middle Eastern ties. These were soft and delightful (balls) on the inside and although ever-so-slightly over-fried on the outside, still very good.
Lunch is a great time to go to Tzatziki's because for just over seven bucks you can get a bunch of food. The special goes something like this: choice of meat, rice or fries, green or tabouli salad, hummus or baba ganoush, sauce. I got the gyro which was thick sliced, well-flavored . The rice on the other hand was of the bland variety, though doused in the good tzatziki sauce it became an acceptable vehicle for the ubiquitous and addictive yogurt-cucumber blend. Back on the good side, the tabouli salad was vibrant and fresh. And the hummus was creamy and smooth, although ever-so-slightly lacking in flavor, lest it was simply my palate that was overwhelmed with the garlic of my tzatziki.
The gyro was sliced off a spit which is of course a huge bonus. Likewise I spied the shwarmas roasting on spits of their own in the kitchen. My wife's chicken "kabob" on the other hand was simply a sliced chicken breast that looked like it spent some time in a non-stick skillet and certainly never knew the sharp point of a skewer. Her baba ganoush though was smoky, creamy and layered with flavor.
The pita was a little sad and store bought. It was warmed, but it is always a little sad to see a promising Middle Eastern place use thin, dry and generic pita (though it is common). The fries too were
very run-of-the-mill and overall the spread of my wife's lunch-- save that fantastic baba ganoush-- was seemingly made for potentially plain palates.
As far as I can tell Tzatziki's serves a mix of well-executed and flavored Middle Eastern classics alongside plain crowd-pleasers for what I imagine cater to its numerous non-Middle Eastern clientele. That being said, I think it's great that this part of Greenwood Village has a little slice of the Middle East in its midst. While not everything was amazing to me, there was enough that would encourage me to stop by if I'm able to get that far away from home again in the next few years.
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