Gyro in Carytown
The divided plastic plate with souvlakia, green beans in tomatoes, rice pilaf, pita and tzatziki is familiar. It's a taste of the Greek Festival, but it's now a daily thing in Carytown. Basilis Greek Restaurant has opened in the former Carytown Seafood, the culmination of a lengthy build-out process in which Basilis Tsimbos learned new levels of patience.
His passion paid off. Word spread quickly that his spanakopita, salads and grilled panini — including braised beef and Greek meatballs — are tasty and affordable. Most combo plates are $7-$8; only the lamb souvlakia combo hovers near $10. The cafe is set up fast-food style with seats at counters and tables, a soda fountain at the back and desserts in a case. First-timers might miss the baklava, kataifi, galaktobouriko, finiki, kourambies, koulourakia and rice pudding that are stocked just past the checkout line. A second look at the sweets almost guarantees a taste.
Basilis is open daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. at 3107 W. Cary St. 257-7277.
Paddy's Preview What is it about Goochland that brings out the beach bum in diners and drinkers? We reviewed Summer Shack recently and marveled at its fish tacos. Around the corner is another beach-vibe restaurant, Sunset Grill, with a low-key attitude, steaks on the grill, fish, shellfish and daily specials, even “we make no money nights” when it slashes prices on burgers and steamed shrimp.
Sunset Grill has an all-day St. Patrick's Day special in the works, with corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and drink deals, and Janet Martin on guitar March 17. 1601 Hockett Road. 784-4500. sunsetgrillgoochland.com.
Snail's Pace This isn't the first time a Slow Food chapter — or convivia, as the international group calls its branches — has tried to form in Richmond. But it's the first time critical mass seems to be in place for a successful launch here. Slow Food is a grass-roots volunteer movement with the vision that all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet. It started as a reaction against fast food, and has moved into advocacy for nutritional programs such as Time for Lunch and educational outreach. Foremost, it's a celebration of food as a cornerstone of pleasure, culture and community, says Stacy Luks, chair of the newly-forming chapter.
Luks, Jo-De Davis and Suzanne Tripp are leading the effort, and already have more than 400 fans on the chapter's Facebook page. “Creating joyful and convivial gatherings of all stakeholders in our local food system helps remind us all to slow down,” Luks says. The chapter plans “to build community through face-to-face interactions over the enjoyment of local, wholesome, sustainably produced food,” she says, and will involve students and other people. A member gathering is planned for this spring, with a community-wide chapter debut event in early summer. Slowfoodrva.com.
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