We never know how to pronounce gyro, but that doesn’t stop us from ordering it at every opportunity. Warm bread, spiced lamb, and tzatziki are a remarkable combo, so we were delighted to find it taken to a new level on a recent visit to the much-touted Ithaki.
Yes, Ipswich seems an odd place for an upscale Greek restaurant, and like us, you may have wondered if it’s worth the trip. We’re happy to report it is.
At a recent weekend lunch, we started out with a half portion of Greek salad for three people ($6). A large stack of thick tomato slices was perched on a bed of micro greens. Supporting players included cucumber slices, yellow pepper, green and black olives, and a chunk of what we’ll call “real” feta (to distinguish from the kind in our local supermarket). We didn’t see a nearby greenhouse, but the chefs have got some trick up their sleeves, as the tomatoes tasted more like August than December. The dressing was gossamer light and delicious, just olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs.
The gyro ($11) consisted of a large piece of fried flatbread slathered with tangy sauce and topped with tomato and perfectly cooked lamb chunks, with roasted potatoes alongside. It was impossible to eat like a sandwich, but we’re not complaining; it’s certainly one of the best lunch entrees on the North Shore.
Which is not to say the moussaka and the pastitsio don’t pass muster; they do. Both feature an ultra creamy bechamel and flavorful meat sauce. The moussaka ($11) adds tender slices of potatoes; the pastitsio ($9) has thin pasta tubes.
One block north of Ipswich’s main drag, Ithaki has parking in front, a large dining room, and a good sized bar and café area. We’ve heard the main dining room is packed and pretty noisy on weekends, so you may want to try a weeknight for a more relaxed meal. Dinner starters run about $12, and entrees range from $20 to $37 (for rib eye). There is also Sunday brunch with an interesting sounding asparagus and kasseri cheese omelette.
The service at our lunch was impeccable, and there were plenty of tables—but you may want to request one away from the windows on a cold day. Also, the Web site features some funky animation involving food—check it out!
25 Hammatt St, Ipswich