Wow. I got scooped by my husband.
While I was having brunch Sunday at Paulette’s for an upcoming review in Memphis magazine, Tony was shopping at Kroger on Mendenhall and noticed the new Taziki’s Mediterranean Café located in the former Pei Wei Asian Diner. He poked inside to check it out. (Yes, I’ve trained him well.)
The restaurant was sampling the menu in advance of Tuesday’s official grand opening. So Tony stayed for lunch. Here’s his report on the restaurant chain, which originated in Birmingham and now operates about two dozen locations in Georgia, West Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee:
Taziki’s is a pretty cool entry in the fast casual dining category with a fairly authentic Greek spin on a variety of dishes. Customers order their food at the register, where they can watch the kitchen crew preparing orders.
I tried several dishes, including the Greek lemon chicken soup, which has a nice mix of herbs plus matchstick carrots and chunks of white chicken breast. The dolmades, or stuffed grape leaves, have a zippy kick and are filled with curry rice and grilled onions. Unlike many dolmades, they are not oily.
I also ordered the chargrilled lamb plate (pictured above) served with Greek herbed basmati rice, a nice Greek salad, and strips of roasted red pepper. Truth be told, it was the first lamb dish I’ve ever ordered in my life. I thought it was excellent.
Taziki's promotes house-made side sauces throughout the menu, including skordalia, a hearty spread made with horse radish and mustard, caper dill tartar served with tilapia, tomato chutney aioli (very tasty), and a pesto sauce that is particularly good in the chicken basil-pesto gyro.
The menu is diverse. In addition to Greek dishes, Taziki’s offers chicken salad, spicy pimento cheese on toasted buttermilk bread and egg and olive salad with bacon. Most dishes ring in under $10 with lamb and salmon dinners topping out at $12.
But wait. There's more: chalk board specials priced under $9 Monday through Thursday and a Taziki’s pasta special served on weekends. Families should check out the restaurant's “Dinner for 4” Entrees include grilled chicken, roasted chicken, pork loin and leg of lamb, along with salads and grilled vegetables.The average cost per plate is about $8.
For now, drinks are non-alcoholic, but beer and wine are on the way.