My craving for gyro or doner kebap had to be satisfied. So today I drove to the nearest place I could get it that wasn't Daphne's. I first heard of Greek Island Grill on Chowhound ([BROKEN LINK REMOVED]) of course and OC Weekly. And being that it was a stone's throw from my office, it wasn't a hard choice.
The restaurant interior itself is impressive. Sandwiched between a Carl's Jr. and a sushi joint, the atmosphere of the restaurant is very cozy and homey. It looks as though this place has been here for ages. Beautifully oil-painted murals of countryside scenes on the wall, framed pictures hung with care, green rimmed table cloths. I thought that it felt very out of place in this stark, somewhat depressing minimall in, what I would call, the hinterlands of South Coast Plaza. After all, in the same parking lot exists a tired old sporting goods outlet and a Red Robin.
So I ordered a Lamb Souvlaki Pita for $4.99. A big sandwich, served with a side of tzaziki, a yogurt sauce. The first thing I noticed was the heftiness of this thing. "Would I be able to finish this by myself?" I wonder. I shouldn't have worried. The volume of the sandwich, as it turns out, was made up of 80% shredded green leaf lettuce. There were about four, one-inch cubes of grilled lamb chunks at the bottom of the sandwich, but really, this is basically a salad wrapped inside a pita. The toppings also included diced tomatoes, parsley, a few pieces of chopped red onion, and slivers of green onion. Unfortunately though, this sandwich wasn't very tasty. The chunks of lamb were really chewy and had no flavor. It took a good minute and a half for me to masticate each piece. It became quite annoying after a while. The tzaziki provided all of the flavor to the sandwich. Too bad there was so little of it.
So after I finished the sandwich, I was still hungry. At $5.33 after tax, I would've expected to be full, or at least, satisfied that I had something unique and chow-worthy. I was neither. For two bucks more, I could've added two sides. Maybe next time. Or then again, maybe not.
Not to be nitpicky about price, but for the same amount of money, I could've gotten four decently sized baguette banh mi's from Banh Mi Che Cali. Okay, unfair comparison. There isn't a lot of things that can beat that deal.
The Whole Pita Greek Island Grille
3940 S. Bristol Street. #113
Santa Ana, CA 92704