Posted 10 October 2010 - 04:34 PM
Hola mis compañeros,
I have a question for you, but I have some answers too. First a bit of background...
A trip to Europe that I took this year cemented a food obsession I didn't even know I had...sandwiches made from Vertical spit roasted meats. It was the Durum Kebab that did it. ¡Dios mío!
I had to keep costs down, and I would get hungry outside of the normal meal times. I never got used to eating dinner at 10pm, for instance. A brother gets hungry earlier than that. For the tastiest food for the least amount of money (available at all hours...even at times the locals don't eat) go for the immigrant cuisine. Here in Portland it's Mexican, Southeast Asian, Ethiopian, and others. Tasty, inexpensive, interesting, and available at all hours. There it was Durum Kebab.
My understanding is that the advantage to the vertical spit roasting is that the lower portions are basted in the juices that drip down from the upper portions. They have these hand-held meat saws and they cut the slices downward, ensuring that you get slices from all elevations of the meat cone. When done right, it's incredibly delicious.
So....who in Portland does the vertical spit roast/bobbin? I know of 4, and have tried 3. I don't care if it's gyros, Donners, Schwarma, or al pastor. I'm interested in hearing about all of them.
I'll open the bidding here:
505 SW 4th
Oh yeah! This is a gem. Their spicy yogurt sauce is awesome, love it. The pita is fresh and tasty, and it's all excellent. This place is the closest I've found in Portland to the wonderful places that started this madness for me. They only have one meat cone, and it's turkey. So you don't get to chose which meat, but that's OK. This is a great place. One caveat though, it's quite salty. They add feta cheese to it, which takes the saltiness up a level or two. I like salty food, especially with beer, but that is something to be aware of. Their version of spicy actually has some heat to it, so be aware of that too. Order it spicy anyway, it's tastier and better for you (en mi opinión). Everyone I've encountered here is very upbeat, positive, and friendly. Their bathroom is crazy nice, too. That is neither here nor there, but it is decorated like some health-spa retreat. Classy. They get extra points for doing this type of cooking and serving something other than a gyro.
1710 NE 122nd
¡Oh Anoush! Best gyro in town. Hefty, tasty, inexpensive, and filling. They cover it with smoked paprika. It's a salty, messy, delicious combination of flavors. You will stink for hours after eating these (in the best possible way...this is bold food). They have the vertical spit roast, although if you go in later in the afternoon they reheat the gyro meat. In fact, I haven't ever seen them shave the meat cone for a gyro order, but it's good tasty stuff anyway. The important thing is that it spent some time on that bobbin, getting all basted and everything. Nice folks too. It's also worth wandering around the market. They have all kinds of cool stuff.
There is also an Anoush on 6808 NE 4th Plain, Vancouver. The locations used to be associated (I have an old 10 gyro punch-card with both addresses), but they have since split ownership or affiliation. The gyros I have had at the Vancouver location were every bit as good as the Portland ones. I haven't been back up there since my new found vertical spit roast obsession to verify that they do their gyros on the bobbin. I assume they must, but time will tell...
520 SW 4th
This is across the street from Donner Kebab, and easy to miss. The most prominent thing displayed in the window is ice cream. However, behind the ice cream they have two meat cones on the bobbin, continually rotating. One is beef/lamb, and the other is chicken. You can have either in a gyro, or both. It was tasty, although there was less tomato and lettuce than I would have liked (but more than enough meat). It was a bit light on the sauce too. It's hot and smokey inside the restaurant, although that was the case with the Donner Kebab places in Europe. I've been in twice though, and they were slow, slow, slow. ¡Muy lento! I waited at the counter for about 5 minutes before someone came out of the kitchen to acknowledge me. I didn't make any noise so the wait is partially my fault, but it's happened both times I've been in. I was also overcharged once (she rang up $7.50 for the $6.50 mixed gyro). I assume that was an accident, but I will always have some degree of doubt and suspicion when I eat there (and I will always check my bill carefully). So out of the three, Petra cuisine comes in third for me, but they do have some tasty gyros, and they run a two meat bobbin setup.
The gyro place in the food court of the basement of Pioneer Place mall actually has a vertical roaster. It was small, but I was surprised to see it. I tend to assume all mall food-court food is universally awful/lowest common denominator stuff, but maybe I should rethink that. I don't know the name of the place, and didn't have time to try it out, but they do have a bobbin.
So those are the places in town that I know of that do a proper vertical spit roast.
¿Anybody know of any others?