Bronx Eats: Go for the Gyros and Chicken-Lemon Soup at Christos
Deemed one of the three best spots for gyros in New York by the Daily News, Christos Gyros & Souvlaki is one of the few places in Kingsbridge Heights getting notice for their grub. Their gyros are certainly the best you're going to find in the Bronx, many notches above the halal cart renditions you'll find along Fordham Road, down by the Hub, and in other well trafficked areas. So what about their other fare?
For this visit, we skipped over that much-loved gyro in favor of Christos's pork souvlaki ($5.50), that other standard of the Greek sandwich shop. Unfortunately that sandwich can't quite compete. While the tzatziki is bright and tasty, a little bit tangy with an undercurrent of freshness courtesy of the cucumber, it's also zealously overapplied, like too much cream cheese on a bagel. The pita itself is nothing special, a chewy but more or less bland store-bought canvas for the meat.
There's a lot of flavorless romaine in there too, and some crunchy, stringy and slightly bitter red onion, but not quite enough pork. What pork you do find has a nice, lightly smoky char that plays well with the creaminess of the tzatziki, but it's not enough to compensate. Do yourself a favor and stick to the gyros.
For all the disappointment that the pork souvlaki is, our meal was rescued, and then some, by the well recommended lemon chicken soup ($6). It's chicken soup as it should be—straightforward and uncomplicated, but salty and lip-smacking with the lemon's tart sweetness. As you drink more of the soup, the lemon flavor comes on stronger, but it never overtakes the soup's poultry backbone. Soft but not mushy rice waits at the bottom, mingling with strands of chicken. It's a soup to embrace.
If you've got a sweet tooth, you'll find a trio of desserts produced by owner Christopher Parashakis's wife: baklava, made daily, Greek yogurt with honey and nuts, and rice pudding ($3.50). I'm a sucker for the latter, and opted for it without second thought. The pudding comes is proudly presented in a tall, classic sundae glass, adorned with a billowing crown of cinnamon and canned whipped cream. Dig through that pillow and you'll get to a rice pudding that is dense and sticky, just a hint nutty and not too creamy, a more subtle but equally tasty take than I am used to enjoying.
About the author: Chris Crowley is the author of the Bronx Eats and Anatomy of A Smorgasburg Pop Up columns. Follow him on Twitter, if you'd like. In person, your best bet is the window seat at Neerob, or waiting in line at the Lechonera La Piranha trailer.