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Wibur's Gyros

Zach Georgopoulos | Jul 26, 2004 07:15 PM

There was a recent short thread about Gyros that began with a mention of Wilbur's, but the opinions seemed a tad mixed so I wasn't compelled to go. At the recommendation of another Greek, however, who also pines for a good Gyro, I headed over to Wilbur's today (had to go home early to meet the cable guy, and the Marina isn't _that_ far away...). I would say this is one of the better Gyros in the Bay Area (after Rainbow Pizza in San Mateo, and maybe the place in the Emeryville Market), and probably the best I've had so far in the SF city limits.

I know that a lot of people sort of scoff at places that use the commercially prepared Kronos Gyro meat, but the fract is it's the closest thing to what a Gyro should taste like that's available in this town. Gyro King, while making a very nice Kebap, does not in fact make a very good Gyro -- the meat lacks that hint of Cumin that really makes for that Gyro taste. Same with a la Turka (though they have the decency to call theirs a Kebap). Besides, neither of them has the pita right (or at all, one using lavash, and the other a rather interesting bun).

So, the meat issue aside, what made this gyro stand out was the use of (1) the right condiments, and (2) relatively thick pita. When Wilbur (can that actually be this man's name?) asked if I wanted everything on my gyros, I said yes -- as long as "everything" meant tzatziki, onions and tomatoes, and absolutely no lettuce, tahini, cilantro or other ingredients. Wilbur agreed wholeheartedly, and we went on to discuss the disturbing and all too frequent use of lettuce in gyros, falafels and Greek salads (I notice his salad is called a "Green" salad, though it is what most places would try to pass off as "Greek"). A man after my own heart, Wilbur concluded that Californians shove lettuce in everything because it makes them feel like they're eating healthier. Anyhow, the tzatziki was nice and creamy (not too thick, and not runny), and the gyro was stuffed full of red onion and tomato, as god intended.

Now, the Pita, was the Kronos brand stuff which, while not perfect, is far better than the thin "pocket" type pita that's often used. Also, Wilbur toasts the pita a bit, which really brings out the flavor. In all, the mixture of flavors was almost just right -- my only complaint being that the pita really needs to be brushed lightly with a bit of olive oil/lemon and grilled briefly over an open flame (but Wilbur's does not have that sort of equipment nor the right ventilation for it). A good gyro in Athens is wrapped in pita that's more reminiscent of glistening, pillowy Nan than any pita I've yet to find here. Surely somebody, somewhere, must make pita the right way?

So, in all, a good gyro. I will return...


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