Planet Gyro’s Wraps Don’t Deserve Their Bad Rap
Does this photo even look like it was taken in New York? I think you’ll agree that the very fast food-like facade of Planet Gyro on Rector Street is not terribly enticing, but I’ll leave no stone unturned for you hungry Lunch’ers.
Yelpers seem to hate Planet Gyro with a fiery passion. I try not to put too much stake in Yelp ratings as a general rule, but in this case, I totally don’t understand where those folks were coming from.
As with Express BBQ, there were some red flags beyond the entrance, most notably a number of “creative” gyros on the menu, but there was also a spit loaded up with some very juicy-looking lamb. I took the plunge, ordered my gyro, and was quite pleased. What’s the story, Yelpers?
So the first thing to note about this gyro is that it’s not what Zach would deem “a *real* gyro sandwich,” but that’s only because they don’t use the standard meat torpedoes that most gyros are made of. Instead they use real whole pieces of lamb! Take a look:
I apologize for the not excellent photo here. I am still developing my cajones as a DTL photographer and am always a little afraid of getting yelled at like I was at Cajun Maggie’s. I wanted to leap across the counter and take some closeups behind the glass, but I think that might have been frowned on by both the guy working there and the health department.
So this is what I got, but I still think you can see that the rotisserie on the right is loaded up with individual hunks of lamb meat. Maybe I really was prepared to leave Planet Earth and enter Planet Gyro:
At this point perhaps you, my keen-eyed reader, will notice something unusual about the picture just to the left of this unusual slogan. What’s that on the gyros? Is it? Could it be? Oh yes, it’s french fries.
I suspect Lunch’ers’ feelings about french fries on sandwiches are visceral, divided, and unchangeable. I don’t want to start that particular fight at the beginning of our second full week of blogging, so I will just say this: You can ask for your gyro without french fries.
Beyond the french fries, which come by default on all the gyros, there are also those “creative” gyros that I mentioned above. Some, like the Buffalo Gyro with buffalo sauce and blue cheese, I’d consider trying. Some, like the New York Gyro with “cheddar barbecue sauce,” I will likely be avoiding.
On this trip, I went for the Spicy Gyro, which comes with “Feisty Feta sauce:”
As I said, the lamb is very tasty. Be forewarned though, that because it’s not processed like gyro meat, the individual pieces don’t just fall apart. I definitely had to tear through some lamb with my teeth, but that’s just real meat for you. It wasn’t stringy or anything, but I just wanted to put that out there before people start telling me it’s tough.
The Feisty Feta sauce was good and tasted almost exactly like the blend of white and hot sauce that I would get from a street vendor. There’s lettuce as well and thinly sliced red onions, which I wish were an option everywhere. I really like sauteed onions with my lamb and rice, but I think raw red onions are better with a sandwich like this one.
And how about the french fries? I tasted one separately before I dug into the gyro, and it was decidedly not very good. Just way too soggy. But on the wrap, they were surprisingly tasty and gave the whole thing a very nice mix of textures. I was skeptical, but I think I’m basically sold.
The problem, I’m sorry to say, is that there’s just not enough meat on the sandwich. Planet Gyro is owned by the same people who own the Pomodoro Pizza next door and the Cafe Bravo next to that, and I think this is the corporate influence at play. The guy in the cart is concerned about keeping you coming back, the corporate bosses here are eying profit margins. It’s really a shame, especially since at $5.50, you’re paying more at Planet Gyro than you would at a cart.
So I don’t think Lunch’ers are going to become Planet Gyro regulars, but the meat is legit and the Yelper hate is–to me, at least–pretty inexplicable.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- The quality of the lamb is excellent.
- The toppings are good and of better quality than your average cart fare.
- Quick, friendly service and a credit card machine, useful for when you want street meat and want to pay with plastic.
- I will not eat a gyro without french fries on it, and up until I found Planet Gyro, I had to do it myself!
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I like my gyros made from torpedoes of gyro meat. End of story.
- The lamb is good, but there’s not nearly enough of it.
- I can get a delicious street meet gyro for $4. No way am I going to “leave planet Earth” for this.
- I refuse to associate with any place that will lower themselves to putting french fries on a sandwich.
Planet Gyro, 16 Rector St. (btw. Greenwich & Washington streets), (212) 267-4976