Is Gyro II The Best Gyro Midtown Has to Offer?
Since I started this site, I’ve been on a quest to find a *real* gyro sandwich in Midtown. And when I say ji-roh or yee-roh or however the hell you want to pronounce it, I mean the Greek inspired sandwich, featuring slices taken from those giant hunks of rotating meat you see on every street meat cart in Midtown, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce (the white yogurt sauce with shredded or sliced cucumbers). Not shawarma (which has a distinctly Middle Eastern flavor), not the pre-made gyro ovals they serve at diners, and not that chopped up stuff you see served off of every street meat cart in Midtown. I want a real Greek style gyro. (I say Greek style because I don’t actually know what an authentic gyro sandwich in Greece is all about… I just know what I ate at Greek festivals growing up as a kid, and I love it.)
I understand the economics of the situation. While most street meat carts have the generic lamb slab used by most Greek restaurants that serve gyro sandwiches, they don’t have the time to allow it to fully cook up on the spit. So what do they do? They cut it off before it has a chance to brown, chop it up into pieces, mix it with onions, peppers, and whatever else, and cook it on the flat top. Tasty… but not a gyro. I just want a simple sandwich, with gyro meat that has been given the chance to get crispy on the spit, sliced and put directly into a piece of soft pita, topped with onion, lettuce, tomato and Greek yogurt (not the street meat “white sauce”).
Last time I mentioned this on the site, the only in bounds recommendation I got was for Gyro II on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th. I checked it out last week…
Gyro II is typical of most “Greek” take out in Manhattan, in that it also serves pizza. The gyro spit was probably the biggest I’ve ever seen, which was both exciting and scary all rolled into one. It also had this reddish tint, which I was not too excited about. They get busy during lunch, just like the carts, so they make your sandwich from meat that has already been sliced, and then stored below the oven, but that’s ok, because at least they allow it to fully cook on the spit before slicing. This sign was also slightly reassuring:
I should have been skeptical though because the gyro I’m looking for shouldn’t have a special “white sauce” worth mentioning, it should just have plain tzatziki, a simple yogurt sauce that matches perfectly with the gyro meat. Cool, and creamy it’s the perfect topping for a Greek style gyro. What you get at Gyro II is nothing like that. Incredibly watery, it had a overly sweet flavor that was more like cole slaw than tzatziki- and to make things worse, they cover the whole sandwich in it, rendering it the biggest mess of all time.
If the gyro meat had been standard, it may have cut the sweetness of the “special sauce”, but it wasn’t. It also was more sweet than salty, making the whole sandwich a sickly sweet mess of dashed hopes and dreams. I’m not saying it’s a terrible sandwich, and I know a lot of people are big fans, it’s just not the type of gyro I’m looking for. Growing up in Miami, if I could get a decent gyro at Miami Subs (back in the day, before they became an all out chain with the bologna of gyro meat,) then how hard can this really be?!?!
I’m guessing you could go to a cart, and ask them to make you a gyro the way you want it, but I’m thinking it still won’t be right, because it’s not what they do. Has anybody had the sandwich I’m describing? Cart or walk in… doesn’t matter to me. Got the perfect rec? Put it in the comments below…
Gyro II, 427 7th Ave (btw. 33+34th), 212-239-0646