Zeytinz is Still “Relatively Fabulous”
Well over a year ago, Zeytinz received a comprehensive review that did a great job highlighting their deli sandwiches, bibimbap bar, and a few of their grocery offerings. While these are all things I undoubtedly appreciate, I’ve found a few other items at Zeytinz that I enjoy so much, I figured it was worth another spin. If you couldn’t personally find anything in the previous post that got you up, out of your office chair, and on the way to Zeytinz, then maybe I’ll post something that does – let’s find out.
I want to begin by confessing my love for their oven baked sandwiches. The menu is by no means overwhelming, but each option is unique enough to prevent getting sick of any single sandwich. Once you navigate your way to the large menu sitting above the oven, the employee at the station is attentive and efficient. He’ll take your order, and immediately throw your sandwich into the oven. He has obviously got the timing down to a science because each time my sandwich is removed from the oven, the cheese is melted to perfection and the bread is crispy enough to hold the sandwich together without cutting up the inside of your mouth.
While I really do love each sandwich, my personal favorite has got to be the chicken balsamic (pictured above). Rather than a full piece of grilled chicken, this sandwich contains shredded chicken that has seemingly been drowning in a balsamic sauce all night. It’s packed with flavor, and it is incredibly moist. Shortly after placing my sandwich in the oven, I’ll ask the man to throw some pesto on my sandwich – a request to which he happily obliges. Once the sandwich comes out, you get a choice between chips or a banana, all for $8.49.
If an oven baked sandwich isn’t your thing, then maybe you will find joy in their chicken gyro wrap. The first time I walked into Zeytinz, this glistening tower of meat caught my eye almost immediately and lured me right in. You can get the chicken gyro two ways, the platter or the wrap. The platter consists of a healthy serving of rice and steamed veggies with the gyro on top, then it gets covered in white and/or red spicy sauce. This is a serious helping of food, and it’s $2-3 above the ML limit. In addition to the gyro, they offer lamb Adana and chicken kebabs, which look great in the picture I actually meant to take of my wrap being piled high with gyro meat.
The wrap is a basic tortilla, no pita here, but they will throw it on the grill prior to serving so it’s nice and warm. You have two choices of ingredients, the first being diced up tomatoes and cucumbers, and the second being sliced onions tossed in some collections of spices. From there, on goes your meat, and again, a selection of white and/or red sauce. The gyro meat is charred nicely and packs a serious punch – I could eat it everyday for lunch, on a plate, with nothing else.
The chicken gyro wrap is a little more expensive than the oven baked sandwiches (~$9) and it doesn’t come up with any chips, but this is a serious wrap. As you can see, it’s loaded with ingredients, and they put a very good portion of chicken in the wrap. Be warned, this can be messy so ask for some extra napkins on your way out.
These are my two favorite items to get from Zeytinz, but they have a number of “stations” along the wall that serve up different lunch offerings. I have tried their tortilla bowl, which is packed with your choice of meat, beans, rice, etc. but it’s nothing special. Also, recently, they have added a Chinese (I think) station that makes a good looking stir fry. I have yet to try it, but I’ve seen plenty of orders being made. They use a sizable portion of meat, and throw in plenty of veggies. Plus, they keep the sriracha close at hand for those of you who enjoy an extra kick.
So, despite the Midtown Lunch policy generally advocating against generic “gourmet” delis, I think it might be fair to put Zeytinz in its own category – Relatively Fabulous “Gourmet” Delis. If you have managed to avoid Zeytinz up to this point, it’s time to give it a try and decide for yourself.
Zeytinz, 24 W 40th St (btw. 5+6th). 212-575-8080