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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEDITERRANEAN FUSION

021716greekamole1-500x328-8293130A Mediterranean chicken salad platter from Greekamolé, which is owned by Jimmy Elenis, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

021716greekamoleelenis-220x140-6100837Three months after the debut of Greek Eats, a fast-food restaurant modeled on Chipotle Mexican Grill, Shrewsbury has a second entry in the market for quick Greek eats.

But the latest addition, Greekamolé at 1130 Broad Street, takes a broader international view, commingling Greek, Moroccan, Israeli and Latino flavors.

“I wanted to do something that wasn’t done,” owner Dimitrios ‘Jimmy’ Elenis tells PieHole. “I wanted to do greens and grains. That’s what you find people eating in the Mediterranean countries.”
021716greekamole4-500x303-3014963Enter the 60-seat restaurant along a wall decorated with Greek-themed platters and step up to order your meal. Baked quinoa falafel, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
021716greekamole3-220x128-6155307Elenis opened his restaurant last month in a building shared with a Verizon store at the entrance to a shopping center.

His idea of blended national cuisines was inspired by years of working in the Greek diners alongside Mexican chefs, who would bring guacamole from home.

“Remember that commercial? The one with the peanut butter and the chocolate?” he asks. “That’s how I came up with the name. Their guacamole worked with my Greek flavors.”

Ordering a meal at Greekamolé can at first try be a little intimidating. But the well-trained staff anticipates this, and offers tiny taste cups of the salads and sides on the menu.

PieHole tried a warm, baked (not fried) falafel made from quinoa and stuffed with chickpea and broccoli, topped with a feta-cucumber vinaigrette, and then put over the top by a garlicky kale-based Argentinian chimichurri sauce. One taste, and we knew we weren’t in Kansas any more.

Deciding on a Mediterranean chicken platter, we then chose our sides: a unique spin on baba ghanoush made with roasted eggplant and butternut squash; a “naked Greek,” which is a cucumber and tomato salad without the feta cheese; and a quinoa tabbouleh salad.

Each was served over a bed of fresh baby greens. The tender, marinated chicken strips worked happily with a dip of signature Greekamolé sauce, which is basically a creamy tzatziki sauce pepped up with avocado.

Filling out our platter were a few fat, juicy kalamata olives and warm pita bread. We felt no guilt whatsoever in finishing every last crumb in our biodegradable container. The reasonable $8.99 price made us feel doubly virtuous.

“It’s all about true American food, with no rules,” Elenis says, explaining that the mixture of flavors from different traditions are up to the hungry customer’s interpretation. “The customer is the chef here. Anything goes.”

Even the beverages have a healthier edge to them: options include Jones Cane Sugar sodas, and Bottled Honest Teas. You won’t find the big-name sodas here.

Greekamolé is open every day from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

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