Restaurant Review #240: The Greek Spot (Red Bank, NJ)

The Greek Spot had come highly recommended to me by fellow members of the Hungry Onion. For over a year, I read rave reviews and saw scrumptious pictures from this business’s Ocean location. There, they have a small grocery area as well as steam tables where you can pick out what you want. Customers described heaping portions. This new place in Red Bank is going for a more restaurant feel. When you walk in, there is a counter and a menu board. Another counter wraps around the front window area. You can eat there or choose to go upstairs and find a seat in one of three large dining rooms, including another one separated and in the downstairs portion of the back of the building. This restaurant is massive. Having wanted to visit since they opened, it figures that this first stop would be entirely by accident. Justin and I were checking the Red Bank Antiques Center for something, and when we parked, I realized that the Greek Spot was literally right there. We were hungry and had to give it a try.

As people who eat hummus almost every day, we wanted to avoid that as an appetizer. Being only two people also forbade us from getting the sampler, which includes hummus, tzatziki, roasted eggplant dip, and a spicy feta cheese dip. That last one is known as Tirokefteri, and being quite new to us, we chose that to start our lunch with. I’ve eaten a lot of Greek food, but I have never seen such an option anywhere. This would be the winner of the entire meal. It arrived in a ball with a large side of warm, crisp pita bread. The dip was everything I had wanted it to be: creamy, the right amount of heat, and enough of that salty/briney flavor you would expect from feta cheese. It was blended just enough that there were still chunks of the cheese present throughout. It was good with the pita. It was good with the meatballs we ordered as another appetizer. Hell, it would probably go good on anything. It was otherworldly.

Speaking of those meatballs, Keftedakia, I assume they were a combination of beef and lamb. There was a lot of flavor in these little bites. Among the array of spices used was a hint of mint. This brought an unusual freshness to what you would assume would be a heavy meatball. They were crispy on the outside, yet tender and juicy inside. The dish came with a side of thick yogurt for dipping, but I chose to keep dragging these things through that spicy feta dip.

For meals, we did not even have to look at the menu to decide. I went with the beef and lamb gyro, while Justin had a falafel wrap. Both came with tzatziki, though we could have chosen mustard or, you guessed it, more spicy feta (if only we had known how awesome that would be). Both were priced under $7, making this an extraordinary value. The wraps were enormous—so much so that I ended up eating it with a knife and fork by the time I got to the end. The meat was fall-apart tender and flavorful. The pita was warm and grilled. The vegetables were fresh. I did enjoy the tzatziki but they put so much that it oozed out with every bite. That’s not really much of a complaint, as I just tried to scrape some out and move it to the side. Super Fans of tzatziki will die for this gyro. Justin loved his falafel—it was gone before I even had a chance to ask him about it.

At this point, we were stuffed. We had not even finished the dip or the meatballs, and both of us had some wrap left. Did we need dessert? Hell no, but I had seen the baklava when we walked in and decided we should at least share a piece…along with some Greek coffee. This moved us from stuffed into a category where you could have rolled us out of the restaurant. The baklava was another large portion. It had the right amount of honey—not swimming in it, but just enough to add sweetness. The layers of Phyllo dough were delicate, and the base of walnuts crumbled with each bite. This is, perhaps, the best baklava I’ve ever had. The ultra-strong coffee complimented it well. It did not take long to feel the caffeine surging through my body.

I’ve never been to The Greek Spot’s other location, but I can see the need for opening a second one. There are more Greek restaurants coming to this area now than ever before, but this place manages to stand out. This is traditional Greek food at excellent prices, massive portions, and a noticeable freshness which helps elevate it amongst the competition. I look forward to coming back for dinner and trying more (they have some delectable-sounding seafood dishes on the dinner menu). The dining rooms are open, beautiful, and manage to feel Greek without overdoing it. Having only been open a month or two, I wish them the best of luck and have to congratulate them on a job well done so far! 4 out of 5 stars (and that may climb with another visit).

The Greek Spot is located at 15 North Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, NJ.

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