How do I love a gyro? Let me count the ways.
I love it stuffed inside a pita. I love it smothered in tzatziki sauce. I love it thinly shaved or cut into fat planks. I love gyros mixed into hummus, atop a salad, served over rice or just sitting naked on a plate, glistening with caramelized fat, standing in front of a boy, asking me to love it.
So that’s, uh...carry the two...put the two down...apologize for the inappropriate two touching...attend a workshop where I learn about respect for numbers...eight. I love a gyro eight ways. Probably more, if I really wanted to get weird with it.
Yeah, that wasn’t me getting weird with it. Crazy, right?
If you don’t love gyros, then I question if you’ve ever had one. Even the worst gyro I’ve had is still better than most foods.
Lately I’ve been getting most of my gyros from Baba G. Mediterranean Grill, a little upstart restaurant that’s already expanding into a hookah bar next door and a second location in Edmond.
The branding is more polished than I usually see for small restaurants and, much as I hate to admit it, that kind of thing matters. It’s not that I can’t get good food from places with terrible branding; I can and do. But for a restaurant to survive, it often relies on people who are as interested in the experience as they are the food.
Restaurants with a clear vision, easy-to-read signs and clever touches make diners feel more at ease. We think, often correctly, that a business who takes care of the small stuff can probably take care of the food, too.
I won’t harp too much on the look and feel of Baba G., but I will say that the clear and concise menu might be the difference between this concept’s survival vs. the failure of a place like Garbanzo, which arguably had a better location.
The simplest way to start is to choose a delivery system: sandwich, plate or salad.
Some gyro sandwiches ($7.99) come wrapped in a pita. Baba G., which bakes their own, slices off a strip at the top of the bread and opens it up, piling the ingredients inside.
The restaurant keeps three vertical rotisserie grills going at a time, cooking gyro meat alongside chicken and steak shawarma. Shawarma are pieces of seasoned meat, piled on a vertical rotisserie and slowly roasted from the outside in, shaving pieces off as they’re cooked.
Much as I love the gyro, I think the chicken shawarma might be my favorite on a plate ($8.99) or salad ($8.49). The smell of the roasting chicken is intoxicating. Metaphorically and, if you’re close enough, possibly literally. The freshly shaved chicken is juicy and deeply flavorful, with a solid, meaty texture that melts against the palate.
I get mine over basmati rice, which is fluffy and greedily soaks up any meat juices that drip its way. But a plate of chicken and rice, while filling, definitely doesn’t get people excited. That’s why the big draw at Baba G. are the sauces and toppings.
House-pickled turnips, pink and tart, and scoops of Arabic salad make the perfect accompaniment to the meat. As for sauce, the chicken goes very well with garlic toum, a creamy vegetarian garlic sauce, or the B.G. hot sauce. Want both? Ask. The staff are extremely accommodating.
I’ve had the steak shawarma a few times as part of the B.G. Platter ($16.99), which is basically everything they have on one plate, but it always lags behind the chicken and gyro. The falafel are also a little dry for my tastes, but your mileage may vary.
Are you friends with a vegan? Probably not! They’re notoriously hard to get along with. (I kid, I kid, kind of.) But Baba G. has the Veggie Feast ($9.99) for just such people. Hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, quinoa tabouleh, cumin chickpeas, purple cabbage salad and fresh-baked pita are all made sans animal products. Even crazier, it’s still very good.
At just 75 cents a piece, I suggest you grab an extra pita or two and get a side of spicy hummus ($4) for late night snacking. Or early morning snacking. Really, just trust yourself and believe in the stars and reach for the hummus. Something like that. It’s really tasty.