NACOGDOCHES — Two longtime Nacogdoches restaurants, Zouki’s Mediterranean and Pepper Jack’s Serious Burritos, have moved in together to become Zouki Jack’s.
Pepper Jack’s opened in 1996 and Zouki’s opened in 2015, but their merger occurred a mere six weeks ago. The current aesthetic is like diner chic.
The two menus have been combined. The classic Pepper Jack’s menu features burrito bowls and chips and salsa whereas the Zoukis menu is classic Mediterranean with gyro and baklava. Pepper Jack’s side is also around the $10 and under range while the Zoukis menu is closer to $15 and up.
However, it seems the quantity and quality is worth the price at Zouki Jack’s.
To try and gauge the full extent of the menu, I chose to try the Avos Appetizer Tray. It’s an $18 smorgasbord of Feta Garlic Fries, Dolmas, Babaghannouge, Hummus and Falafel. The Feta Garlic Fries were probably my favorite part of the dish with their crisp and balanced flavor, not to overwhelmingly garlic.
The Dolmas or stuffed grape leaves were quite a new experience for me, but I loved them. The Babaghannouge was yummy with a light, sour taste that was almost spicy and well delivered on the pita chips. The Hummus also was good, with a creamy and buttery taste. The Falafel was spicy and full of herbs, crisp on the outside and smooth on the inside.
For main courses, I ordered the Chicken Kebabs and the Grilled Steak Quesadillas.
The Chicken Kebabs were great. The grilled chicken was moist and lightly seasoned, perfect vehicles for the bold peppers and garlic sauce. The dish was served with a serving of Hummus and a Greek Salad. The Greek Salad was good and nicely sized with a delicious lemony dressing.
The Grilled Steak Quesadillas were wonderful. The steak was excellently cooked, and the tortilla was perfectly crisp. The combination of Monterey Jack cheese, pico de gallo and the Q-sauce was well done. The Q-sauce is interesting, almost fruity. It paired well with the side of sour cream.
I ordered the Chips and Salsa as a side. The salsa is different, in a good way. It is lighter and tangier than most other salsas, and using the pita chips instead of corn was a great choice.
For dessert, I ordered a piece of the Elysian Baklava. It was incredible, light and sweet. The combination of walnuts, cashews, almonds and the freshly ground pistachios and homemade syrup on top was lovely, almost reminiscent of banana bread. However, the layers of thin, crispy phyllo dough were lighter than bread. It was a perfect ending to the meal.
Zouki Jack’s is at 1220 North St. in Nacogdoches. They are open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and closed on Sundays.