There's a new Middle Eastern place at the corner of Columbus and Broadway (across the street from Alfred Schilling). It looks like a take-out place from the outside, but there are several tables in the back that were nicely dressed up with flowers, art on the walls, etc. The place is open until 3 AM seven days a week!
The menu is *very* extensive, including a dozen appetizers, gyros, felafel, shish kebabs and platters. When I walked in, there were two cooks, the apparent owner and a waitress looking anxious. There were no customers. I expected to order a gyro-type platter, but the platters are quite expensive, over $10. The chalk-board menu was also overwhelming, and the owner encouraged be to order a beef gyro. I complied. Actually, I said I was hoping for lamb and he pointed to the gyro-turner and said, curiously, "Well, there's a little bit of lamb in it, but it's mostly beef."
While the cooks were assembling my gyro, I inquired about where they got their yogurt. "It's homemade," the owner said. He served me up a little dish to try. It was nice and thick and tasted not too fatty--might be what you're looking for, Ruth. I usually eat whole milk Brown Cow or Strauss yogurt and this tasted a little less smooth and more sour to me. Worth a try, though.
Anyway, the owner said everything was homemade, and they use "very high quality meat." I was excited because they have spinach pies and lahmacun (the ground meat pizzas). All platters a served with homemade bread, according to the menu. They also have lentil soup and a soup of the day--which was spiced yogurt today (yum). There's a glass case at the front where all the kebabs and stuff are stored--looking tasty--and there was some very fresh-looking fish. The place looks very promising, but it's surprisingly pricey. I'll have to try a few more things, but it could be a candidate for a Chowhound dinner.
Anyway, my lunch? Well, the meat was flavorful and very, very tender. It came in a grilled lavash with onions, tomatoes (surprisingly good), tahini sauce and parsley. I am not very into wraps, but this is quite good. I would ask, next time, for some tzatziki. I am no authority on gyros so I can't attest to authenticity here.
I'll be back for a spinach pie and lentil soup, maybe tomorrow. I used to live around the corner from a very good, cheap Middle Eastern place in Manhattan and I really miss this kind of food. However, it's not my favorite kind of cuisine, so I don't usually go out of my way for it. I'm glad this place is near my work.
Gyros Grill & More
279 Columbus Ave
(Note that this is not far from Truly Mediterranean. I think this place is really going for a different place, with a full menu, etc.)