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Esperia Grill- Terrific Greek-Moussaka and Pork Gyro in Brighton

Never would have known about this place without the posts from lergnom on the schwarma thread. We had a really good dinner last night at this sunny spot.

The Moussaka was the best i've had, after my own. A layer of herb and spiced ground beef and tomato is topped with sauteed sliced eggplant and a deep layer of potato and creamy rich nutmeg- tinged beschamel sauce. Moussaka is a peasant dish, a casserole, but unlike many lesser versions, the flavor of each component is full and distinct and the overall effect is piquant, luxuriant and deeply satisfying. A large 5" square portion is $8; $2 for a side salad (substantial size, but w/ a disappointing packaged salad dressing. They're such a no-brainer to make; why have all this delicious small-batch home cooking and not make your own salad dressing?)

The succulent and abundant pork gyro is best described by gourmaniac here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/778094

The spinach pie is good and the avgolemono was lemony but lacking in richness. For us, the highlights were those above.

http://www.esperiagrill.com/

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Esperia Grill
344 Washington Street, Boston, MA

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  1. I live near Esperia, and have always wondered why it didn't get more love on the board. It's tough to recommend to people looking for something in town, though as Brighton Center isn't on a lot of folks radars, but I always recommend it when people are looking to eat in that area. I agree about their moussaka, best I've had outside of the one baked by the mom of my Greek college ex-girlfriend.

    7 Replies
    1. re: kimfair1

      ah yes, the moms of friends.Lucky us, many of us, i'd guess (worthy of its own thread in General Topics, eh/!) Who knew choice of playmates would influence/help mold? future CHs?!

      kim, i think i might owe you an apology for not being included in my shout out to lergnom; i think you actually mentioned esperia a while ago. At any rate, thanx so much. It'll be interesting to compare their pork gyro to Zo's. Maybe slim will get to Esperia before we get to Zo, but i know one of us will post about it. :-)

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        No worries, glad you liked it. The gyro was also quite good the one time I had it, but I loves me a good moussaka, and it's nice to have a great one a short walk away from home.

          1. re: kimfair1

            hey Kimfar and lergnom, all this recent attention on your CH discovery must make you feel pretty great! so many CHs with happy tummies thanks to you (and Esperia of course!) And you got MCSlim to make quite the declaration; not too shabby you two!!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              The main thing is what kimfair said, Brighton Center is kind of ignored outside of occasional references to Jasmine Bistro and a few others - like the odd Devlin's mention. It's not on a T line and it's not really convenient for people more in the burbs. I live in Brookline and am always cutting through Brighton Center. I like to go to Esperia and then walk to Athan's for gelato. And the convenience store on the corner past Athan's has the lowest prices on Barry's tea. (And they have a separate Keno room, if you are into that.)

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              Jasmine Bistro
              412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

              1. re: lergnom

                Yeah, Brighton Center is off most people's radar, which may help explain why it doesn't have the volume of quality places like Allston does. I am happy that I helped introdue my fellow hounds to Esperia. Methinks I'll be getting a pork gyro for dinner tomorrow!

                We wanted Esperia about a week ago, but they were closed, so we had to settle for a burger at the Corrib. Nothing special, but a decent burger. I also recommend the Sicilian pizza at Imperial (across Wash St from Mandy & Joe's). Not a fan of their regular pizza, but the Sicilian rocks. Jasmine Bistro is one strange place. Sort of a surreal experience with the owner who pours you wine from bottles behind the bar (based on what type you want), and charges by the carafe. Food is good, not mind blowing. I do like the new Abbot's Frozen Custard place. I didn't love it the first time we went, but I had a fresh strawberry there after the Corrib that was fantastic. I do recommend the cup over the cone, as it's softer in consistency than ice cream.

                Devlin's is a guilty pleasure, mostly because of the entertainingly bad bartender there, who tries hard, but usually fails miserably. We like to sit at the bar occasionally and watch the mayhem! Food again, is passable, nothing to write home about.

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                Jasmine Bistro
                412 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135

          2. re: opinionatedchef

            Not Slim, but I have tried both. I prefer Esperia but both are good. Esperia is a little more generous on the meat and I prefer their bread.

        1. I love Esperia Grill! They are a great option for a quick lunch around brighton center, and everything I've tried there tastes very fresh. My usual go-tos are the moussaka and the regular old Greek salad.

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          Esperia Grill
          344 Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135

          1. Try the Greek roast chicken; very lemony and good with the Greek roasted potatoes and spinach rice. The pastistio uses the same bechamel, which is extremely light and creamy. The spinach pie is also good. The mom - I think her name is Georgia - is responsible for the food. She says Greek food is only good if made in small batches. I wish they'd add octopus, etc.

            I grew up in Detroit and Chicago, which have large Greek communities. Though the best Greek food in N.America seems to be in Canada & mostly in Toronto.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lergnom

              As a history buff, i wonder what drew greeks to detroit and chic and toronto and not so much boston?

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Don't know about Toronto/Chicago, but I believe that Greeks were among various groups drawn to the higher paying jobs at Ford a hundred years ago. Though ol' man Henry was known for anti-Semitism, he readily hired Mediterranean and Middle Eastern laborers in Detroit.

                Gonna hit Esperia for lunch tomorrow. Crispy-edged pork just sounds so...porky.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I grew up in Peabody, which had such a large Greek population that there was a bus from St.Vasilios Greek Orthodox church every afternoon to take the kids to Greek school, just like the ones from Temple Ner Tamid that took the Jewish kids to Hebrew school, so YMMV...

              2. Bumping this thread to say thanks to all who posted about this super little place. Tried the pork gyros yesterday as well as the moussaka. The moussaka was very good, with a light bechamel that helped combat the overall "heft" of the dish. It's not my typical summer fare but I wanted to try it and it is indeed very good. Moussaka was served with one hot side and a nice greek salad with (when dining in) a good house-made dressing. I got the spinach rice pilaf on the side but was really tempted by the orzo with chicken. Next time. (Note, the picture makes it appear smaller than the serving is. It's easily a 4x4 slab of food, and three inches tall.)

                But the gyros! The gyros were a thing of beauty. See the picture below, just a humongous pile of juicy pork, crisped up on the flat top and swaddled in a pita blankie. Served with feta cheese and tzatziki. I would have liked tomato and onion on it, but I'm sure they'd honor the request if made. I kept sneaking little bits off my DC's plate, hoping she wouldn't notice or mind. I need one of these all to myself, and then a nap.

                We also tried a Greek beer and ogled the roasted chickens on the way out. They look great too. I like Farm Grill's food a lot, but Esperia is so much easier for me to get to I'll definitely explore more. Was also curious about a lot of other places in Brighton Center, a hood I don't ever get over to, but I'll raise that as a different thread.

                 
                 
                3 Replies
                1. re: yumyum

                  love the gyros. I recall both tomato and onion but not quite the abundance of meat. Their pita is the best i've had here.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    I have to agree: this might be the best gyros sandwich in Boston. Great bread, perfect rotisserie combo of crisp and tender, and they do pork! I think it edges both Zo and Farm Grill, my two previous favorites. I was so hoping to review it for The Phoenix, but Nadeau beat me to the punch right after it changed formats last fall (it was a Greek pizza place from the same operators for many years)

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    1. re: yumyum

                      I had the gyro here for the first time last weekend. It was large, very good and came with on a perfectly griddle pita. Mine had onions on it though (diced red onions.). They were at the bottom, right on top of the tzatziki. (and underneath the pork.)

                      Also, the dressing that came with the salad was very good. Not sure what was in it, but it had a little heat to it was is unusual for Greek dressing, but definitely welcome.

                      1. Esperia will close for 2 wk vacation 7/24 i believe.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          would someone let us know when they actually reopen?! i'm having a hard time here!(there is no phone or web message.)thnx much.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            they open today - they were on vacation.

                        2. Am I missing something here? I went last Monday, first night back from their vacation. Ordered cold appetizers first, waited over twenty minutes before going to the counter to ask about them. Got one appetizer, second one never came. Then waited another twenty minutes for my pork gyro. Saw the plate with salad sitting on the counter waiting for someone to slice the pork and make the gyro. Though I had one once before some time ago, I was expecting something great. What I got was a greasy, fatty sandwich. I couldn't eat it. Though Brighton is convenient for me, I'd take the beef and lamb gryo at the Greek Corner over this any day.

                          p.s. The owner did comp me some cookies at the end of the meal and apologized but I don't think I'll be back.

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                          Greek Corner Restaurant
                          2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: chuck s

                            I was underwhelmed my self when I hit it a while back.

                            1. re: chuck s

                              bummer. don't know what happened w your food, but we only get the pork gyros and the moussaka
                              (with a side of badly needed tomato sauce) and we love both. maybe first night after vaca. is not best time? i'll have to try the greek corner .

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Went last night, I had the moussaka (which I alternate with the pork gyro), and my wife had the lamb kabob sandwich. Both excellent. No problems with the wait, and the place was pretty full.