I won’t lie. I nearly crashed my car scarfing down garlic fries from the newly opened gyro and souvlaki restaurant at Coddingtown. The San Jose-based chain founded by three cousins (all named Nick) has nailed fast-casual Greek eats using all the garlic. That’s a good thing — unless you’re a vampire.
The menu is straightforward: pitas filled with meat, plates of meat, salads with meat or bowls of meat. There are, of course, non-meat items like falafel or the veggie gyro (zucchini, portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, fries and tzatziki sauce); but this is Greek food, so, mostly meat.
That’s where things got dicey as I tried to eat a box of Nick’s fries with feta, garlic, spicy yogurt, green onions and combination beef/lamb gyro meat with my fingers. As I drove south on Highway 101, the aroma alone forced me to crack open the box around Cotati. By Petaluma, half the takeout box was gone. I ended up getting most of it on my shirt, but that was a small price to pay. There was a significant swerve as a large chunk of lamb hit the floor. Box was then closed until I was safely stopped. Fries can be dangerous.
Gyros, of course, are the thing at Nick’s (all $10.95). Soft, spongy pitas are stuffed with chicken, pork, beef and lamb either cut from the rotating spit (gyro meat) or on a skewer (souvlaki). Topped with creamy cucumber-yogurt sauce, tomatoes, lettuce and onions, they get a bonus handful of fries tucked inside.
You also can get a plate ($14.95) with tasty yellow rice and salad or a gyro bowl ($11.50) with rice and lettuce topped with red wine vinaigrette. There’s a Greek salad entree ($10.95), natch, as well as the Prasini Salad ($9.50) with romaine lettuce, dill, feta and lemon dressing.
Don’t miss the baklava or loukoumades (beignets with nuts and syrup) for dessert.
282 Coddingtown Center, Santa Rosa, 707-806-2207, nickthegreek.com/santa-rosa. Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.