Nikia Mediterranean Market - Chandler
Husband and I are leaving tomorrow morning for a last minute trip to Pittsburgh for a funeral...so having to pack and organize the animals and house for the petsitter tonight we decided take out was a better option than cooking or going out tonight.
We remembered that this Mediterranean market just opened at the corner of McClintock and Ray Roads(SE corner next to teh bowling alley) and headed off to see what they ahve to offer.
Walking in, it's very bright, clean and organized. And still somewhat empty. The shelves are stacked with Italian and Greek import items. Sauces, pastas, olives, oils, jams, chocolates, cookies, etc. There was a reach-in with FRESH Appolo brand phyllo(yay for someone on town who offers it fresh not frozen). The reach in also had two different types of Taramasalata(greek caviar spread) and some packaged, shredded myzithra cheese.
On the other side of the store was a deli cooler offering an assortment of Boar's Head meats. The usual suspects were $7.99/lb and they had some higher end items like Parma Prosciutto at $19.99/lb.
Three types of Feta: greek, bulgarian and italian(who knew such a thing existed?). I'm partial to the bulgarian so that's the only one I asked the price of...$4/lb.
There's a sandwich menu offering deli sandwiches and some hot sandwiches including souvlaki(lamb, chicken or pork), eggplant parm, chicken parm, meatball. No gyro, no falafel...yet.
We ordered two lamb souvalaki sandwiches to go at $8.95 each. each came with a side of the hummus that was featured in the deli case(along with tzatziki, pasta salad, antipasto salad and a couple types of olives).
There was also a pastry case featuring HOMEMADE greek pastries: kourembiedes, kataifi, melamacarona, galatoboureko as well as some spanokopita.
We ordered a piece of spanokopita as well and 4 of the melamacarona which I love.
While waiting we chatted with the owner who was from NY and just moved here. Told him I'd love to see rice pudding and he said he's thinking about adding that and some other stuff as customers requested(also asked for homemade dolmades as I don't like the ones in the can and am too lazy to make my own).
Got home and dug in. The sandwiches were good...tomato, red onion, homemade tzatziki and tender marinated lamb on a fresh, soft pita. The flavors were good, though the tzatziki could have used more yogurt tang(suspect it was heavy on the sour cream vs yogurt).
For $9 though they have to figure out how to either beef up the sandwich or cut the price...though again the meat was nice and tender. The hummus that accompanied was good but a bit underseasoned.
The spanakopita was delicious. I'm very partial to my family's recipe(of course) but this was good...no skimping on the feta, no cottage cheese. crisp and made with butter not oil.
The highlight were the pastries though. My goodness...I'm a tough critic on greek pastries and these were my particular favorites...i'm glad we only bought 2 each...I wouldn't ahve been able to stop. Again, light and flaky...LOTS of nuts, perfectg mix of spices and well soaked in the honey syrup which again was made with perfect flavors. These darn cookies tasted like my grandmothers! It is not good this is a mile from home and on my way from work.
So...I think they're going to have some growing pains to go through. I think also with the many good middle eastern markets in teh valley they're going to have to work to separate themselves with teh Greek/Italian focus as people may be disappointed to find they don't have the same offerings of places like Haji Baba, Giado's, and the others or they may have to start carrying more of those items.
I also root for the new small independent guys, especially in this immediate part of town so dominated by the mall and all the chains. So we'll definitely continue to stop in and see what we can find we like...and offer friendly suggestions where we can.
mmm...and maybe pick up a cookie or two while we're there...
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I went to nikia recently and got the classic sandwich, which is the first one on the menu. It had fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, olive oil, and balsamic on a hard roll. The sandwich was very good, but I too believe that $9 is a bit steep for a sandwich. They did give me some kalamata olives, as well, which were great.