Great gyros but so-so cappuccino, says this week's Mystery Reviewer
COLUMBIA, 5/10/12 (Review) -- The hunt is on for the best gyro in town and we have a contender: The Coffee Zone.
I had been in before, but just for espresso, and had seen a delicious-looking creation on the table of another diner. Having recently been to International Cafe (convenient, and nice folks, but the food mediocre), I was hoping for better. I got it.
In ten minutes, an attractive triangular plate arrived with an appetizing creation. And instead of the spread-out versions of this open faced sandwich, it was a small mountain -- ingredients stacked tall.
From bottom to top was pita bread, gyro meat, hummus, sliced ripe tomatoes, thin sliced marinated onions topped with spice, lettuce, flat leafed parsley, and sprinkled liberally with crumbled feta. The lettuce was not the big squares of sad, wilted iceberg as at most falafel joints, but finely chopped greens which were actually green. And the gyro meat was thicker than most -- nicely browned so you got a nice crunch on some bites.
Layered to perfection, each bite had a little bit of everything -- you didn't have to go searching for hummus or meat or onions. The flat leaf parsley really made it sing.
The Kona coffee didn't disappoint, and was flavorful and fresh. But the poor, sad cappuccino! I was looking for a delicious caffeinated treat on this sunny Saturday, and I fear they make espresso in one batch and pour it into whatever specialty drink is ordered. Mine tasted like fairly strong old coffee with foam on top.
The environs are clean, lots of polished wood and woven tapestries, top shelves have hookah pipes, with a laid-back coffee shop vibe. The tables are wooden with a dark stain and the chairs are comfortable. On a Saturday afternoon, the place was full with only a few tables to spare.
We left pledging to return to try more food, especially the breakfast items and the spanikopita. But for specialty drinks, we'll try another coffee shop.
Large Cappuccino $3.00
Kona coffee $1.40
Gyro Deluxe sandwich $7.95
Meal total: $13.26 + $2 tip = $15.26
Order at the counter. They bring your food.
11 N 9th St.