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Dec 16, 2009 05:59 AM

Chacarero v. Zo: drug of choice?

The infamous Chacarero sandwiches (I prefer the meat, but the chicken is also good) are very, very good. No debate there. Outstanding, even, in their quality and simplicity. But I think they have been dethroned by Zo’s original gyro as my downtown sandwich drug of choice. (Sam LaGrassa’s roast beef gets honorable mention). I get in the mood for Chacarero; I physically NEED Zo’s gyro. Weekly. Sometimes twice weekly. (??). When I finish one, I temper my disappointment that the experience is over by carefully plotting when I will get the next one. It is flatbread wrapped crack. When they first opened, they had some over-seasoning issues with the pork, but that has been resolved. There are only five ingredients; each is of the highest quality and each is perfectly proportioned to the other. I had one yesterday and after writing this I might have to get another one today.

I hope others feel the same way. Zo seems to be doing good business, but if they closed for any reason I really don’t know what I would do.

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  1. "prefer the meat, but the chicken is also good"

    Aren't they both meat? :)

    Anyhoo, I feel the need to go to Zo more often, although when I get a hankering for Chacarero nothing else will do. Another plus of the big C is that if it is too crowded I can always take a look at what's going on over at LaGrassa which I also really like.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jgg13

      Chicken is meat?!!?? :-) I meant beef.

      One aspect of Zo that can be hit or miss is if you want to eat in. Limited seating, distracting mirrors, and an opening and closing door in cold weather do not make it the best experience. I have solved that by getting it to go and walking across Center Plaza to One Beacon, where you can take the escalators down and just eat at the cafeteria tables they have.

    2. They're both unique, both enviable options to have Downtown. I'm more inclined to take Chacarero for granted, since it has been around longer (I think I prefer the chicken to the beef as slightly less likely to induce a food coma).

      But I was really excited by pork gyros at Zo this year (and grateful to Chowhounds for clueing me into what had happened with the old Mediterraneo): it's the most popular style of gyros in Greece, and you almost never see it in the States, certainly nowhere else in Greater Boston. I was excited about pulling jury duty across the parking lot from Zo, as I knew what I was getting for lunch.

      So no, I'm not choosing, but they're both among my favorite sandwiches in town.

      1. You guys aren't making this easy. Chacarero, Lagrassa, and Zo's are 3 of my favorite lunch spot. They are in that order of distance from my office. We cater from La Grassa's but if a week or so goes by without, I need a fix.. Same with a bbq beef at Chac's or Zo.

        fyi, Zo was closed for a good period. They were originally in Filene's on Washington St and were displaced when the building was was Chac's. Chac's got on their feet quicker.

        You really can't go wrong with any of them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: 9lives

          My only issue with LaGrassa is how big the sandwiches are. That complaint isn't quite what you think, as I'm not one to complain about "disgustingly large portions" or anything, but rather that means that the price points are higher as well. Ya go and get one of their chipotle reubens and a drink and it's 13-14 bucks. Yipes.

          On the flip side, I don't always have to eat dinner when I have lunch there, so I suppose it works out :)

          1. re: jgg13

            I sometimes eat 1/2 and put the other 1/2 in the fridge..not very often :) but it seems like a good idea when I open it.

        2. I Zo it more often because it's closer to work and I like the vegetarian sandwiches and the spinach pies too. But I probably swing by Chacarero at least twice a month (chicken for me) Yum yum.

          1. I think the King deserves a mention in this thread. The Falafel King. Especially if you're not in the mood for meats. The dude rules.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BoDubya

              Due to the cold, I stopped at Falafel King instead of Zo. I'd been before but maybe I caught them on a bad day, The beef was not up to what I'd remembered and not up Zo.

              I'll chalk FK to having a bad day and revisit but they didn't do it for me today.