Best Bet: Gyro

The gyro at Castle Restaurant.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

The gyro at Castle Restaurant.

The first gyro I ever ate was at The Fairview Drive-In -- the one with the polar bear statues -- that was on Airways. I called them "JY-rohs" as in "gyroscope." I was told you actually pronounce it "YEE-rohs."

Forty years later, I found out that pronunciation was wrong, too. I learned the correct way to say "gyro" when I visited the Castle Restaurant.

Owner Nada Hammoud said she hears the Greek sandwich referred to as "Jee-ro," "Garro" and "Hero." It's actually "GHEE-ro", she said.

Whatever you want to call it, the gyro at Castle Restaurant is incredibly good.

I watched Hammoud make one for me in the kitchen. The lamb and beef are combined into one 10-pound roll that hangs vertically in the kitchen. Hammoud slices off some of the meat, grills it for 2 minutes and puts it on naan (pronounced "non") -- a flat pita bread -- and adds tomatoes, onion, lettuce and tzatziki sauce, which is made with cucumber, garlic and yogurt. Some people want pickles, too, she said.

She then folds the round bread over and wraps up the sandwich almost to the top in aluminum foil, which she folds and twists at the end. Over that, she folds and twists paper almost to the top. This is all for leverage -- it keeps the sandwich folded so you can eat it more easily.

I made the mistake of taking off the paper and the foil to see how Hammoud wrapped it. I couldn't get it back together, so I just ate it open face with a knife and fork.

Castle Restaurant sells a range of Middle Eastern/American cuisine. They serve falafel, shish kebab (beef) and shish takouk (chicken). The gyros are her No. 1 seller, Hammoud said. She goes through five of those lamb-beef cones a day.

Castle Restaurant is at 3992 Park; (901) 320-1020.

-- Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

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Comments » 2

whatdidisay writes:

I have been here many times, ever more when I worked in East Memphis. The food is always delicious, the gyro is spectacular, and the staff are extremely friendly!

Thomasd writes:

Great place for lunch or dinner. Fresh food and kind service. Gyros are great but so are the Shish Kabob or Shish Takouk.

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