Each week, Alice "Cheap Bastard" Laussade scours the city for good, cheap lunches. Well, most weeks. Many weeks. OK, she does whatever she damn well please when she freakin' feels like it. (We don't argue. The woman carries a shiv. Rumor has it, she's on parole.) This week, she felt like a little Greek.
Other patrons in the restaurant count: 2 Pieces of Orbitz gum I had to chew post-meal to get rid of garlic mouth count: 12
You've driven past Kostas Café a million times on your way to zebra-painted Electric Boutique to buy strippering outfits. (Side note: On the Electric Boutique website, their FAQ section answers the question, "What's a 'business day'?" I thought they were going to reference that Flight of the Conchords "Business Time" song about doing sex, "Aww yeah -- It's business. It's business time!" But they didn't. They just actually defined "business day." Which means several people who come to their site -- enough to make this a frequently asked question -- trying to buy shoes with fish in the heels really don't know the definition of a business day. So awesome.)
From the street, Kostas Café looks like a place your mom wouldn't want you to walk into alone. But inside, this place is totally up your mom's alley. White tablecloths, attentive servers, great food -- if they played Josh Groban and Phillip Phillips muzak on the stereo, your mom would fucking be in Mom Heaven.
A server welcomed me as I walked in the door: "Is this your first time at Kostas Café?" Yep. "Thought so. I didn't recognize you. Here's a menu. Check it out. Are you familiar with Greek cuisine?" Kinda. "Definitely try the gyro sandwich." Deal.
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I've heard from some Twitter folk (@KJulio1 and @brainville_co) that the saganaki (Greek fried cheese) and a "Greek lasagna type thing" are other solid choices on the Kostas menu. But on this day, they were too pricey for me. The gyro sandwich (strips of "gyro meat" in a pita with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes and onion) comes with a side of potatoes and a free loaf of bread, and cost me $7.95. (Cheap note: If you want to avoid being forced into leaving a tip, call ahead and pick up your order to-go.)
While I waited for my food, my server walked me through the rest of the menu. In some other restaurants, this would be annoying, but here it was charming. "Feta cheese is damn good." He either really likes working at Kostas Café, or he's the second-best actor on the planet (Duh. Brad Pitt's Fight Club abs is the best actor on the planet).
The gyro was great. They loaded it up with tzatziki (which was fantastically garlicky), onions and tomatoes. This sandwich is perfect for an exit interview prep meal. Leads to about three solid vurps that -- if properly directed at a target -- will light the target's eyes on fire. Just don't vurp into your own hands. You will absolutely pass out.