Zo

An old friend in new digs still slings an outstanding gyros sandwich
By MC SLIM JB  |  September 16, 2009

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There are many reasons to silently mourn the closing of Filene's in Downtown Crossing, but I know I vociferously wailed at the accompanying evictions of several worthy take-out restaurants that operated at the famed department store's sidewalk level. Chilean sandwich maker Chacarero found a comfy new home nearby, but I didn't know what happened to Mediterraneo, a Greek take-out restaurant with particularly fine gyros sandwiches. I recently learned its fate: it became Zo, a tiny counter-service place with a few tables indoors and out at the upper level of Center Plaza, the long curved building across from Government Center. I'm also happy to report that its gyros sandwiches ($6.75) are as terrific as ever.

These are proper gyros: chunks of marinated meat stacked onto a vertical rotisserie — not a pre-fab cone of ground meat — grilled and sliced off, served on pita bread with chopped tomatoes, diced red onions, and the cucumber/yogurt sauce known as tsatsiki. Zo does two versions: chicken breast, and more noteworthy, pork loin, which, while popular in Greece, is far less common in the US. These are just outstanding sandwiches: the pita is fresh, chewy, and properly griddled; the sliced meats beautifully seasoned, edged with crispness, and generously laid on; the tsatsiki carrying a detectable hint of garlic. Other pita sandwich options are surprisingly tasty, too, like a chunky tuna salad ($6.75) dressed with yogurt; a veggie ($6.75) that is essentially a Greek salad with a balsamic dressing, roasted red peppers, and feta; and a mozzarella-tomato-basil ($6.75), which is effectively a Caprese salad bulked out with field greens.

Fresh-tasting soups ($3.75/small; $4.50/large) include avgolemono, the classic creamy chicken soup with lemon and rice (only subtly lemony here) and a good, thin vegetarian lentil. Spanakopita ($3.75), the square turnover of spinach and chunks of mild feta, features a very light and ungreasy phyllo crust. Dolmadakia ($3.75/eight) are small grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, lemon, olive oil, and mint — tasty if you enjoy the uniquely sour/bitter flavor of their wrappers. A variety of decent-size salads ($5.75–$6.75) are packaged to go. Dessert options include a hefty slice of baklava ($2.75), lighter and less syrupy than many Greek versions. In sum, it's gratifying to find this old friend with its new name and location, and not just for the sheer novelty of real pork gyros. Zo serves some of the best gyros sandwiches in the city.

Zo, located at the upper level (rear) of 3 Center Plaza, in Boston, is open Monday–Friday, 11 am–3:30 pm. Call 617.227.0101 (but phone orders are not accepted).

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