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Aug 9, 2007 11:57 AM

Real Gyro?

I'm looking for somewhere with real, freshly made gyro; most everywhere here's premade due to the time it takes and the space it takes to make the real thing.

Real gyro is prepared with thin cuts of goat (and in some cases other meats may be incorporated) being layered on a large stick that is then grilled with a close fire, the cooked portions are carved off leaving the next layer to get thoroughly cooked. Mmm with a little hummus and good pita, heaven.

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  1. The schawarma at Lebanese Butcher is done the right way - like you describe. I think there are a few other places with the same. I've not seen anywhere to use this method and call it a gyro - seems to always be the pre-processed stuff.

    When I pressed a Lebanese friend about the difference of the two (schwarma and gyro) he stammered around a bunch, tried - in a few fitful starts - to give an explanation, and finally resigned and said they're pretty much the same. Unsure if anyone else has further clarification - maybe it's particular spicing that's used?

    13 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S

      This topic about the difference was split off into general chow topics. I don't know how tarabouch does it but they are very good. But I think they use lamb or beef. I always thought lamb was the traditional meat anyway?

      The lebanese taverna market makes one of the two, but I think theirs are a little too juicy sometimes.

      If you go to a real kabob/kebap/kebab place a lot of them have spinning spits of beef or lamb that they shear off.

      1. re: ktmoomau

        I thought Tarbouche was poor quality (old flavored meat, cold stale pita) and volume for price.

        1. re: alkapal

          Wow you must have gone on a bad day, I think they have good pita, but I normally get it warmed, and I do hate the pita at Lebanese Taverna I don't like that texture, and store bought pita can be a hard find for good stuff. But I also am not a huge eater so I never have a problem with sizes. I normally get it delivery and impressed with the quality for delivery, it never comes cold and I love their hummus, but again hate most all store bought hummus would rather get it from here or the lebanese market. I also like that they have cold sides that can be delivered too. I was trying to think of the prices, but I never pay for my meals so I guess I don't know. I think it is awesome delivery wise.

          If I was going out to eat I of course would go to the Lebanese Butcher. But neither of these places have goat... If only the Pita House delivered to my front door I would be really happy.

            1. re: alkapal

              Not really, depends on where you go. For Gyros themselves yes normally, some places just let the meat warm it and I don't like that I like it a little crisp. But sometimes I will ask for warmed pita on the side too (just order it from them to eat with hummus which they warm for me). Lebanese Taverna Market doesn't normally do this. I wish more places would make it homemade myself but c'est la vie. I often make it at home so I really crisp my pita but I also don't mind hacking up my own lamb shoulder.

              1. re: ktmoomau

                One dish we love at the Lebanese Taverna Market is the chicken wrapped in that thin bread, with the garlic sauce (close to food heaven) and the pickled turnips for acidity and crunch. Sometimes we buy just the sauce and turnips, and get a rotisserie chicken elsewhere -- or roast our own.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I like their fries with that sauce, I then dip them in the hummus.

                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    That garlic sauce might go on the DEA list as addictive!

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I buy it and keep it around to put on sandwiches of all kinds, use instead of aioli for steamed mussels, mix into oil and vinegar for salad dressing...you get the picture.

                      1. re: alkapal


                        lebanese garlic sauce recipe from a fantastically diverse international recipe website

                    2. re: alkapal

                      Try the chicken tawook sandwich at Lebanese Butcher sometime. You'll never look back.

                      1. re: bacchante

                        annandale rd., right? do they also have a great sauce you love?

                        1. re: alkapal

                          that's it. I haven't seen the garlic sauce to buy as you can at Lebanese Taverna Market, but it sure is great on the chicken tawook.

        2. If you can't even find doner kebabs around DC, I seriously doubt you're going to find goat-on-a-stick. Someone prove me wrong, because I'd love to try both.

          3 Replies
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            FWIW, Nizam's in Vienna serves a doner plate; strips of doner mixed with yogurt, pieces of pita and a tomato sauce. Just had it last week; it's delicious. not the stripped down grilled meat that you might be looking for, tho'.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Recent Doner thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/368849
              And definitely check out the schwarma at Leb Butcher.

              1. re: monkeyrotica

                There are real doner kebabs in NOVA, but I have never seen goat. I didn't even know that they traditionally made such things with goat though... Yeah good luck on finding goat around here.

              2. Samos in Baltimore Greektown is worth the drive but not on Fri-Sat after 6

                1. When I've had it in Greece, it has been made with lamb.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ko1

                    I've not been to Greece, nor am I Greek, but I too have always heard of gyros being lamb or a lamb/beef mix, whether it was pre-made or made from scratch. I've not heard of goat gyros before. Is this a regional variant somewhere? And is the goat meat ground and formed into the familiar cylinder-on-the-spit, or assembled in some other way?

                    I'm not doubting the aunthenticity of the O.P.'s description, I'm just curious for more details.

                    1. re: Warthog

                      Yeah I wondered where OP is from? I am thinking latin or south america would perhaps make goat ones? They traditionally eat more goat, and I see very little goat used in European/Mediterranean cooking of this type. OP are you out there?

                      1. re: Warthog

                        Here it's often mixed with beef. In greece, it's often alternating slices of lamb and pork on a spit.

                        1. re: ko1

                          yea when i was in greece this summer it was overwhelmingly made with pork.

                    2. maybe some new hounds will see this revived thread and tell us where to find a gyro. i don't want goat -- but the beef/lamb combo. please help alka find a good gyro in nova!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal

                        I know Lebanese Butcher is schwarma not gyro, but do you not like that? I think the pita house has Gyro and not schwarma.

                        Also what about Zorba's in dupont, theirs isn't bad if you want gyro instead of schwarma.

                        Also the Kabob Palace in Crystal City might be a good place to try. Although again it might be schwarma, instead of gyro.

                        I am making a ton for a party tomm night if you want to help me butcher my big cuts of lamb, you can have my gyros ;)

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Will a doner kebab suffice? There seem to be quite a few places serving the sliced (unprocessed) lamb on a skewer combo.


                          1. re: alkapal

                            Marathon Deli right next to the south end of University of Maryland just off Rte 1 has been open for 20+ years and it's simple but very, very good. They carve the gyros off the spit (I think it's lamb but have never asked) and even the fries taste great, as they're thin and sprinkled with Greek seasoning while they're still hot.

                            I first went there with a Greek friend and whenever I'm near there I stop by. I've never found anything better if a gyro on pita is all you want.

                            1. re: 2stepper

                              I just noticed that you were asking about No VA, but while College Park is on the other side of the Beltway, I'll say Marathon Deli is one of the few places I go out of my way to eat at, one of those hole-in-the-wall places that stick in your memory.

                              For the most part, they just do one thing (gyros) and they do it really well. Also, don't confuse it with the Lebanese place next door unless you want schwarma and hummus. Marathon is about gyro meat with tsatsiki, feta, and onions.