Lest one think from the previous reviews that the Tysons Corner area is entirely mall-related dining, rest assured, there are a few gems hiding in among the malls and box stores. Nestled a few blocks away from Tysons Corner Center in the first floor of an office building is the surprisingly pleasant Nostos, an upscale Greek restaurant. Since I had a free evening, this was also a good opportunity to get together with some of my DC area friends from TCF, so a group of 8 of us descended up Nostos.
As a frequent volunteer for FIRST Robotics, I often find myself having to spend the occasional weekend as a guest judge staying in towns that I’m normally close enough to that I’d just visit them during the day, but due to the early hour that Robotics kicks off, it’s nice staying close by. This also gives me an opportunity to check out some of the local towns in a bit more culinary detail. This year, I was spending a lot of time in Windham, so I ended up getting a room in Nashua. I’ve enjoyed a few places around Nashua before, like Martha’s Exchange or Vietnam Noodle House, but this time, I was craving a gyro. Many other places I’ve lived, gyro joints were a dime a dozen, but in New Hampshire for some reason, they are somewhat rare (although Manchester has a few, like the very good Gyro Spot). But I had noticed that since my last visit, Nashua had added Main St Gyro, so I had to give it a try.
As I’ve mentioned a few times, there are some gaps in the culinary coverage up here in Northern New Hampshire and Vermont. Several cuisines are nearly absent: there’s no Vietnamese, for example, between Manchester and Burlington, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an actual Cuban place closer than the Boston area. But one of the odder factors I’ve seen is that while there are quite a few Greek people living in New Hampshire, and even running restaurants, they usually don’t run Greek or even Middle Eastern restaurants, instead, they typically run pizza joints (often with the name “Pizza Chef” or “Village Pizza” as the name). I actually like a lot of these places (Grantham’s Pizza Chef, for example, has surprisingly good baklava, and Mexican Coke in the case). But sometimes I’m craving an actual Greek restaurant. Indeed, living in Michigan, Minnesota, or even Tennessee, it was never that hard to find a good gyro or souvlaki, but up here, it requires a bit of a drive (there are several good places in Manchester, like my already-reviewed Gyro Spot). But a few years ago, Claremont (which isn’t exactly a culinary Mecca), picked up an actual, honest Greek place: Elaini’s Greek Cuisine.
As I’ve mentioned several times, there are several major gaps in culinary coverage up here in Northern New England. One of the major ones is Greek food: there are almost zero Greek places, either fancy or fast food, between my home and Manchester, with suitably few options in the opposite direction, and it’s even rare for a Greek-owned pizza place to over up so much as a gyro. So that’s a gap of almost 100 miles in diameter lacking Greek foodstuffs, so I’m often finding myself craving a gyro. But a trip to Manchester takes you back into the Greek belt, since I can think of at least a dozen places around Manchester that will happily serve you up plates of hummous, tabouleh, and big giant pitas filled with souvlaki or gyros. There’s just one subtle problem here, and I’ll admit it’s a minor one: Most of these places don’t serve up true Greek gyros, but instead serve up Greek-American gyros made with “gyro meat”, that giant cylinder of spiced lamb meatloaf-like mixture toasted up on a spit. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy a good “gyro meat” gyro on occasion, especially with well-crisped meat… but it’s much akin to eating a double-decker taco from Taco Bell when you are really craving proper Mexican-style Tacos al Pastor. You’re in the right ballpark, but not playing the right game. Proper Greek-style Gyros are pork, marinated up nicely and cooked up to a nice crisp on those same vertical spits, and often served to you with Greek-spiced fries jammed into the gyro as well. I’ve had these many places around the world and enjoy them, but hadn’t had any luck finding such in New Hampshire. Until I found the Gyro Spot.