You all know that Midtown Lunch has a love affair with the gyro, whether being served chopped up as the “lamb” portion of a halal platter, or patiently cooked and sliced correctly to be served in a real gyro (like they do at the Famous Chicken Place or at Uncle Nick’s on 9th Ave.) But ever wonder about the origin of this mystery meat on a spit? If you answered yes, than you have to read the gyro article in this morning’s food section of the New York Times. It traces the first mass produced gyro to a Jewish (?!?) owned business in Chicago, and even has a video of the gyro making process, which “starts with boxes of raw beef and lamb trimmings, and ends with what looks like oversized Popsicles the shade of a Band-Aid.” I even recognized Gyro II (on 7th Ave. btw. 33+34th) as the footage they used at the very beginning of the video! (Although if you are a little squeamish when it comes to raw meat, I would skip the video. It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.) Check it out>>
Archive for 'Gyro'
After posting that you really have to go to 9th Ave. for a decent Greek style gyro, Lunch’er Susan emailed me to ask about a gyro special she had seen in Midtown Proper: “Pronto on 48th btw 5+6th, near Indus Express and Hing Won, has a gyro combo. Gyro, fries, drink for $6. Could this possibly be any good? I suppose stranger things have happened.” There are actually *two* Pronto Pizzas on 48th btw. 5+6th, but the gyro deal is at the one closer to 6th Ave. I stopped by there the other day to check it out.
Back when I was on my quest for a real deal Greek gyro (not a Middle Eastern shawarma sandwich, or a chopped up gyro from a cart), a number of commenters mentioned Akdeniz. Sure it’s Turkish, and not Greek, and the place is a sit down restaurant- but their gyro sandwich is under $10 (one of the few things on the menu that is) and came highly recommended. Well I finally got around to trying the thing, which is only available during the day, and although it wasn’t what I initially was asking for, it is definitely a tasty sandwich.
After posting about the mediocre gyro at Gyro II, I complained that I couldn’t find a decent Greek version of the gyro sandwich in Midtown (my nit picky distinction between a “Greek” gyro, and what you get at street meat carts is in the original post). As always, the commenting faithful had some good suggestions, and while most of them were out of bounds (that’s where all the good stuff is), there were a few places I vowed to check out. Seeing as how I am already a big fan of the Famous Chicken Place on 3rd Ave. btw. 38+39th, I figured I’d start there.
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”).