The Earl of Sandwich can rest easy knowing his legacy will live on forever, because when this baby—the Gyro sandwich—was invented, an extrapolation from his very own invention, he knew his legacy would live on forever.
The Gyro is technically a pita, but ‘tomayto, tomahto,’ as they say. A pita sandwich is a sandwich just the same, and this one is special for sure. Its roots lie in the basic but delicious realm of Greek cuisine, and really is simple enough, but perhaps only on the surface.
It is no doubt that the flavors are complex and add to its art and allure overall…
How far back does the Gyro pita sandwich go?
Complete with usually lamb, (beef and pork is also used), this baby is topped with onions, tomatoes, lettuce (at times), fried potatoes and the wonder that is known as Tzatziki sauce…a culinary delight made from plain yogurt, cucumber and garlic.
*Note… In my native Montreal, fried potatoes are usually omitted at most places that serve Gyro; it seems to be a Greece thing, and a thing of the restaurants in the US, and the addition makes all Montreal locations that fail to include potatoes pale in comparison, sad to say.
The gyro isn’t as old as you would think, however. As reported by grecotrulygreek.com, it first appeared in the 1920s—early portion apparently. Its appearance is due primarily to the act of cooking meats on a skewer over a fire or source of heat and cutting said meats right off of the skewer.
The Lebanese use a similar method for Shish taouk and Shawarma, as do other middle-eastern countries’ recipes and those of some European locations as well.
Regardless, the dish has become a staple of Greek cuisine and one that is popular amongst foodies. But who makes it best?
That’s a question that can most assuredly be answered. I would venture that going to Greece would be option one to tasting the greatest, but if you can’t really do the whole land and sea thing, the best Gyro in the States is located right in New York.
New York is perhaps the culinary capital, and although that is debatable, you cannot deny that great food lives and thrives in the city, and at the heart of it.
If it isn’t the fine dining establishments, then it’s at the eateries where everybody can partake…the affordable food that is made from the heart and delivered to its patrons with that same amount of heart and soul every day of the week.
Enter King Souvlaki in New York—specifically Astoria, New York. To be even more specific, it’s located at 31st St and, 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11106, USA.
It is a food truck, but they’ve been at it long before the food truck craze of recent memory and history. These people have been dishing out the classic item for a whopping 40 years and still going strong.
For the meat, they go for lamb and beef combo; they do away with the lettuce that some locations add, and serve it with red onions and of course tomato; the fired potatoes, they go with French fries, which is easier but by no means a shortcut that does any damage, and their sauce far outdoes any Tzatziki sauce you’re likely to find.
This place is worth your time and money if you need to travel to get there; so if so inclined make the trip, this Gyro is well worth it, as stated.
Now I know I’ve left out a lot of great places, but my assignment was to pick one single place that makes it best and this is it, hands down.
What are some of your favorite locations for Gyro, dear readers?