Tuesday’s gyro pleasure: Van Dam Diner, 44-55 Van Dam St., Long Island City, Queens 11/29/16

I wonder: Does this diner own a vertical rotisserie? They must keep it in the back, with lamb meat whirling and roasting all the time. The gyro meat at Van Dam Diner tastes like the real deal.

The first time I had a gyro (we pronounced it Gee-ro) was at the Greek House in Norman, Oklahoma in Campus Corner at University of Oklahoma. Since I grew up in Norman, I think I was still in my teens. Nana was very insistent that we all tried it, I remember. The meat spinning slowly on a vertical rotisserie right in front of the cash register (it was the first time I had lamb), and its meaty smell and pressed texture, it was a revelation the first time I tasted that wondrous sandwich, jammed with lots thinly-sliced onions and tomatoes, oregano and tzatiki sauce, wrapped in a toasty pita bread.  The people running the Greek House in the 1980s-1990s knew exactly was they were doing.

Today’s gyro plate at the Van Dam Diner (here it was pronounced Gyi-ro; $10.40), it was like tasting it for the very first time. The meat is amazing. However, I did miss the additions. It was just meat and a springy/spongy pita bread, and the tzatiki sauce on the side was very bland. The plate includes a green salad and a side of fries.

However you happen to say it (still saying Gee-ro; don’t care if it sounds weird), it was nice to take a trip down memory lane, especially on such a rainy day.

Enjoy!

 

 

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