SF - Hayes & Kebab - Excellent Cigaret Borek
Though I've never had cigaret borek before, there can't possibly be a better version.
Thin crackly phyllo is wrapped around a soft warm filling of feta cheese mixed with parsley. The cigar-shaped snack is deep-fried. There are four in an order These are something to eat immediately. It took A LOT of will-power because these were soooo delicious, but I saved one for home to see what it was like cold. Still tasty, but the crackle and ooze was gone.
This is a lovely, modern kebab and gyro shop. The skewers of kabobs displayed in a cooler look like something you'd see at Cafe Rouge. Just stellar-fresh and beautiful.
The prices are a little high and I didn't want to commit to a gyro or kebab without reading up a little more about the restaurant. After eating the cigaret borek, if I wasn't in such a rush, I would have went back.
The usual starters and dips ... hummus, babaganoush, mast o sir, dolma, spanakopia. The last is $4.25 and everything else is $3.95
There's a soup of the day ($4.50)
Salads served with pita bread include Greek, Tabbouleh, Couscous, House, Spinach, Caesar and Fruit. Prices run from $4.95 - $7.95. Add chicken or beef gyro to any salad for $3. The fruit salad is one of the freshest I've seen in quite a while.
Wraps include lamb & beef gyros, chicken gyros, adana kebob, kofta, falafel and vegetarian. Prices run from $5.50 - $6.95. The adana kebobs on display, waiting to be cooked, looked impressive on long, flat sword-like skewars.
Prices for plates which include a side and pita range from $9.95 to $11.95 and include chicken gyro, lamb & beef gyro, moussaka, adana kebob, beyti kabob, Alexander's Favorite and shish kebobs (chicken, lamb and salmon).
Beyti kabob is skewered ground beef wrapped in a lavash with tomato, sauce & yogurt. Alexander's Favorite is thin-sliced marinated lamb & beef gyro with bread cubes in fresh tomato sauce and yogurt. Combo platters are available.
House-made desserts ($3.95) include kurdish baklava (pistachios & their own syrup), ice cream & rice pudding.
There's some average bottle beers & wines available.
The cigaret borek ($4.50) was one of three daily specials written on a white board. Something else had pine nuts and other delicious ingrediants in it.
I was tempted to order a gyro when watching the large slices of lamb being carved up in the kitchen. Orders are placed at the counter, you are given a number and the food is brought to the table. There are a few sidewalk tables.
This really is a class operation that is getting favorable mention elsewhere on the web. Seems like a great non-fancy option if going to the symphony or eating near City Hall.
Hayes and Kebab has been open for three months.
More about borek
Hayes & Kebab
406 Hayes St (@ Gough)
San Francisco, CA 94102
Sun -Thu 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat 11:00 a.m .-11:00 p.m.
I forgot to mention .. they proudly have their Health Department rating displayed ... 99 out of 100. This place is just sooo spic and span.
Reading a little more about the place since my post, it seems the specials, kebabs, hummus and baklava are the things to order. A few comments that the gyros can be on the dry-ish side. However, that was around when they opened a few months ago.
We went there recently and were not impressed. The Chicken Gyro (admittedly not a bellwether for this kind of food) was dry and flavorless. The accompanying sauces were very good (yogurt sauce, also hummus and baba ganoush), all strongly flavored and tangy. I dipped the chicken in the sauces which made it palatable.
The tabbouleh was mostly bulgur, very little parsley, dry and flavorless.
Did not try the borek.
It was not expensive, and the portions were large, so in this neighborhood it is a good value (it's near Davies Symphony Hall). If you order correctly it might be OK.
I got take-out from Hayes & Kebab recently. The place was really clean and guy at the counter was super nice. We tried:
Appetizer Combo Plate - According to the menu, it comes with hummus, babaganoush, mast o sir (yogurt), falafel, couscous salad, dolma, grilled veggies, and pita; we didn't get any dolma and the grilled veggies were 2 mushrooms and 1 tomato wedge. However, I liked what we did get. The dips were tangier than usual, but I thought they were good.
Spanakopita - The pastry was not super buttery, but I didn't mind. The filling was quite flavorful, but a little dry.
Greek Salad with Chicken Gyro meat added - The salad dressing was really tasty, although there was too much of it. The chicken was quite flavorful but dry, but the abundant dressing helped compensate.
Lamb Shish Kebab plate - The lamb was perfectly cooked to medium - still rosy in the center - and was very tender and delicious, although a bit gamey, as lamb often is (which I don't mind). It came with a pleasant rice pilaf, even better bulgur pilaf, oily salad, and fresh, soft bread. There was a tasty yogurt dip for the lamb, and we also got hot sauce on the side, which I haven't gotten with kebabs before - it was quite spicy but good; I mixed the hot sauce with the yogurt.
All in all, I would definitely go back.
Just went to Hayes & Kebab for the first time tonight. I, too, was impressed by the cleanliness and together-ness of the place. Not at all what I would have expected!
I went with a friend of mine who had recently tried and loved their kofta wrap. I wanted some meat, but I was also tempted to order the moussaka. We opted to split one entree- "Alexander's Favorite"- minced lamb with spices and bread cubes in tomato sauce and yogurt. For $10.25+tax, we stuffed ourselves and had leftovers. The lamb was tender, a touch dry but tasty nonetheless. The lamb had a nice tomato sauce, not too much, just enough to moisten the meat, and the yogurt was off to the side, which was nice as I was afraid it would be very saucy. Not so. Under the generous heap of lamb and tomatoes were bread cubes- surprisingly not soggy at all, which I think were lightly toasted and were just beginning to soak in the tomato sauce. Yum!
The entree came with rice, bulgur pilaf, and a roll, which I think is the same roll used for the bread cubes. The rice and bulgur were nothing exciting, but were a good vehicle for the meat. The bread was pretty blah.
I will definitely be back here- the food is very reasonably priced and very yummy. The service, even for takeout, was great. The guy who was working the counter was very helpful in answering our questions and offering modifications if we wanted. Next time I'll try the moussaka.
We have eaten at Hayes & Kebab maybe 6 to 8 times since it opened. I think the food when it initially opened was better than it is now (the meat is more gristley, I find, and the portions slighltly smaller) but it is still one of the only affordable options in Hayes that's open later than 10:30 p.m.
We always order a Greek salad, which is ginormous, and maybe the lamb plate. Salmon kebabs were also very good. The dolmas appeared handmade: all a little different in shape, and not crazy oily like out of a can. The display case, as is noted, super clean and very tempting.
I would say the food is on par with the place near the downtown library (the name escapes me). The pide is good at both, but the place by the library's is slightly better. Hayes & Kebab has a much nicer ambiance though.
I have not tried the borek -- will have to check it out. But personally I miss the boreks at the Muslim breakfast place in Hayes (we called it Muslim Denny's) that closed and reopened, regrettably, as Stack's. The Algerians at the former made fantastic couscous with harissa-laden kebabs and flaky, yummy flaky boreks (triangle shaped, not rolled). RIP.