Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fast, Fresh Mediterranean Arrives in the Southtowns

Rachel's Mediterranean is not new. Their locations in the Northtowns and the City of Buffalo have been delighting diners for some time now. I've liked the look of the food my co-workers have brought back to the office from Rachel's location on Chippewa. When I saw that a location was to open up in the Southtowns, I was excited.

Rachel's Mediterranean is now open in Hamburg on McKinley Parkway near the McKinley Mall. This past weekend, we finally had the chance to stop by. Let met tell you - it was great!

Rachel's business model is unique - it's a "fast order restaurant serving your favorite Mediterranean wraps and bowls," according to their Facebook page. Think how Chipotle does Mexican/Tex Mex and change the cuisine to Mediterranean. It's fast, fresh and offers many options.

When ordering at Rachel's, you start with a basic choice of wrap, salad, rice bowl or pita chip bowl. You then select your "meats" (I put the word in quotes as there is a vegetarian option which you'll see later in the piece). The meat options include chicken souvlaki ($6.95), chicken kabob ($6.95), steak souvlaki ($7.35), gyro ($6.95) or falafel (the aforementioned vegetarian option - $6.95). You then get to choose as many sauces as you'd like - Dill, Tzatziki, House Greek Dressing, Garlic, Tahini and/or hot sauce. Next, you choose as many vegetables as you want. The lengthy list includes the typical lettuce, tomatoes and red onion, as well as Kalamata olives, banana peppers and several other options. Your last choice is Feta and/or American cheeses. There are also several extras you can purchase like hummus ($1.00), tabouli ($1.00), fresh cut fries ($2.99) and "Greek Fries" ($5.95).

Needless to say, I was excited when I got to open this bag:

My wife went with the wheat wrap and the chicken souvlaki:

In it, she got Feta cheese and a bunch of vegetables, including lettuce, tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

I opted for one of my personal favorites - falafel:

I also tried the tabouli with my wrap:

The chickpea fritters were fried to order and were delicious. I've had them before when they've been fried in old oil and they turn out bitter and foul. These were fresh and full of herbs. They were crispy and had plenty of chickpea flavor. In addition to the Kalamata olives and Feta that I selected, I tried several of their sauces. The Dill sauce may have been the best, full of dill flavor and a nice tang. The Tzatziki was good as well, but was quite thick. It was flavorful nonetheless. The House Greek Dressing was great and had a nice balance between the oil and vinegar. It was seasoned very well and was a welcomed addition to my wrap. 

The tabouli was incredibly fresh. As is typical, it's a salad of parsley, mint, couscous, tomatoes, onion and garlic and was seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. I was expecting more couscous or perhaps bulgar wheat and to consequently be more of a side salad. There wasn't much grain, but it was still delicious and went better on my wrap than as a side salad. 

All in all, we had a great meal. We'll be back very soon and we'll order something off the kids menu (which we now know they have) for our children. This is a great option for fast, fresh food in the Southtowns or at their other locations when you don't want the same old fast food. Highly recommended.


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  1. I had so hoped I would love Rachel's, but I was less than impressed on my first (and likely last) visit. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it was just *okay* for what it was. :(

    1. That's not good, Katie. What didn't you like?

    2. I ordered the bowl, which I think was my first mistake. Their food doesn't work like Chipotle's, and I think would have been better as the wrap. The gyro meat was decent, but the rice and other ingredients were meh.

      But my bigger problem was the service. It took far too long to get my food. They had a bunch of employees, but only two people were doing the real work. A lot of the tubs were empty, so I waited around for quite a bit when there were only 3 of us in line.

      Overall, the hummus and gyro meat were good enough to return, but the other ingredients plus the service really turned me off. I'm pretty sure I will try it again, especially after hearing a few positive reviews from you and others, but I might give them some more time to get settled into their rhythm.

    3. That service is unacceptable. I'd go back though since it's so new. Give it one more chance and let me know if your experience approves.

    4. I am very hopeful it was a one-off experience, as their gyro meat was one of the better ones I've had since moving back here. Good flavor, especially for something that isn't fresh carved. I will let you know when I make my way back!