It’s impolite to review a restaurant before it has had at least a couple of weeks to work out the kinks. Reviewing a place on opening day is probably a mortal sin, but I’ll risk it because, darn, Taziki’s was good.
We had no idea the Jim ‘n Nick’s sister chain was opening in Memphis until our server at the Cordova location of the barbecue restaurant told us last week. We also had no idea of the opening date. It was a fortuitous trip for groceries that led us to the restaurant for it’s grand opening.
When given a menu — especially at a new place — our standard protocol is to order as close to “one of each” as we can. We made a valiant effort at Taziki’s. We started with the mezedes sampler platter. It came with very good hummus and taziki sauce with toasted pita chips for dipping.
The highlight of the platter — and indeed of my entire meal — was the dolmades. There are two primary differences between these and other dolmades I have eaten. First, these were shorter and fatter. As with fat sushi rolls, that makes them difficult to hold and eat. On the positive side, the ratio of grape leaf to rice is shifted in favor of the rice, reducing any hint of bitterness from the grape leaves. The second difference was the seasoning. These dolmades were more highly seasoned than most I have had; there was even a pleasant backnote of heat. I would be happy with just a plate of these.
Our next item was the lemon chicken soup. I often think of typical chicken soup as that fifth of five meals from one chicken when you’re just getting by on the broth and a handful of rice. Taziki’s soup is far from that. More akin to chicken au jus, this is a really good soup. It was a bit different from our expectations in other ways as well. The soup was not creamy rich like a traditional avgolemono, but that was no problem. The abundant chicken was lightly smoky, and that was a delight. Our only wish was that the lemon was more front and center.
Our main items consisted of two gyros and an egg and olive sandwich. My egg and olive was lovely. Angela’s lamb gyro was meltingly tender. Unsurprisingly, I never had a chance to taste Patric’s chicken pesto gyro. Everything was quite good. And it was still good from our to-go boxes the next day. We were too stuffed to even get baklava.
Yes, I suppose to be fair we should return to Taziki’s after a few weeks to give them a proper review. Honestly though, I doubt we can stay away that long. Gotta get that baklava.