Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill

I’ve eaten at Zaytoon Mediterranean Grill inside NewBo City Market many, many times. I always get a gyro. Always. I did have to ask one day what makes their gyro “Chicago-style?” She said they carve the meat off the spit instead of using the frozen food service strips. I just thought that made it real. Zaytoon’s gyros are excellent, though not as good as Parthenon’s in Madison, my gold standard (which is probably 90% sentimental).

Today I screwed up a lot of courage to try something new. Not out of fear, but because I love gyros so damn much. Lebanese food is my favorite of all foods and Zaytoon’s has quite a few appealing options. Sadly no kibbeh or fattoush. I had two choices for shish tawook, a plate and a wrap. I went with the wrap and a side of fries.

I guessing their chicken is not cooked on a skewer and that’s fine. It’s really the marinade that is most important. I watched her throw the chunks of chicken on to the flat top to reheat, chopping up a few of the larger pieces. Don’t be confused, a shish tawook wrap is not a chicken gyro. For starters it’s rolled in a twelve inch wrap I believe called a durum, not folded in a pita. The toppings are different, example grilled peppers. There is a yogurt sauce but I do not believe it is tzatziki. I think it is garlic based not cucumber. A shish tawook wrap is a lot less messy than a gyro, an important consideration. I made an excellent choice. It was fantastic. One important note, they don’t salt their fries, so I had to ask for some salt packets. It will be tough next time not to order a gyro, but I’m glad I tried the shish wrap and highly recommend.

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Uptown Gyros

I love gyros. My gold standard is Parthenon’s in Madison WI. I have not found any that live up to theirs since I left Mad Town but I keep searching. I’ve driven by Uptown Gyros many times and today I thought I would stop in instead of just drive by.

I was completely caught off guard when I walked in. This place is carry out ONLY. There are no tables to eat at. Padded office chairs line the perimeter of the inside waiting area. You place your order and then wait in one of the chairs. It feels a lot like going to the DMV.

The menu looks fantastic. I will be interested in trying a few more items but I will have to plan correctly since I have to pick up and eat nearby. I guess good if it is my last stop on the way home.The Indian food at a gyro joint intrigues me. And I’m all about a perch basket.

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I ordered the Gyro Combo, all the way. Which means lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tzatziki sauce. I don’t think I have had a gyro with chopped cucumbers but it was better than the places that use salad mix and then I get carrots on my gyro. Please. No. I did not see a spit in the kitchen for the gyro meat and the meat didn’t have crisp edges like it was cooked on a standing spit. But it was good and not the pre-made food service stuff some places sell. I could hear him chopping meat in the back like he was making Philly steak sandwiches so maybe he bakes the meat and chops it by hand? Regardless it was a good gyro and the flavors were all right. The fries were lame. I did ask what a Gyro Supreme was and was told it’s double meat. Hmmm….maybe next time.