Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 April 2013 09:13
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
The restaurant is named for the Greek-American dish (pronounced "YEAR-oh") made of chopped lamb and beef, seasoned and pressed into a cone. It's mounted on a vertical rotisserie, and sliced off to order. It comes as the focus of a platter, a sandwich on pita bread, or as an accent to a salad. All versions are dressed with a cold sauce made of yogurt, cucumber, and dill. Gyros has become a fast-food item in food courts, with a wide quality range. They serve first-class gyros here, always a little crusty around the edges.
The namesake dish--gyros--is a minor player compared with the rest of the menu here. Most of the dishes of the Greek taverna are well prepared and served perhaps too amply. Entrees that tend toward heaviness get a lighter touch here, with fresh ingredients. Like many Greek restaurants, the menu includes a few straight-ahead Italian dishes; these are good, too.
Mr. Gyros is the oldest Greek restaurant in New Orleans. It first appeared in the late 1970s across the street from Tujague's. It opened a second location in Metairie on Causeway Blvd. at West Esplanade, which persisted long after the French Quarter original closed. It thrived there under the ownership of George Papapanagiotou until early 2012, when it moved a few blocks to its present spot.
Mr. Gyros's new premises are hidden in the in the back of a strip mall, more off Severn Avenue than on it. (You have to look for it a little.) It's a much nicer place than the old location on Causeway Blvd. The dining room is quiet and dimly lit. Greek music plays at a low level. Good place, then, to escape prying eyes and ears. The service staff is friendly and accommodating.
»Saganaki (flamed cheese)
»Baba ghanoush (eggplant dip)
»Spanakopita (spinach pie)
Falafel (fried chickpea croquettes)
»Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves)
Tiropita (feta cheese pie)
»Combination appetizer plate
Avgolemono (egg and lemon soup with rice and chicken)
Soup of the day
»Crispy Mediterranean chicken salad
Souvlaki (grilled pork)
Grilled marinated chicken breast
Gyros or chicken stew (with vegetables, rice pilaf)
»Roasted lamb shank
»Moussaka (layered, baked ground beef, eggplant, bechamel)
Pastichio (pasta layered with ground beef, bechamel)
»Souvlaki plate (grilled marinated pork)
»Baked Greek chicken (half)
Grecian pizza (peppers, onions, gyros, cheeses on pita bread)
Kebabs (lamb, chicken, shrimp)
Pasta of the day
Fish of the day
»Galaktoboureko (light custard in phyllo)
FOR BEST RESULTS
Appetizers are all big enough for two people, and all the entrees are very large. An order of hummus or a side Greek salad will do for a first course. Especially if you're munching pita bread as you go. An all-appetizer meal is not a bad idea.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
A good Greek skordalia would sure be good with the calamari. Not enough seafood on the menu. The desserts are good but not always as fresh as they could be.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Service +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine and Bar
- Local Color
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Greek restaurants have always been a rarity hereabouts, despite the size and longevity of the local Greek community. (New Orleans boasts the oldest Greek Orthodox congregation in North America.) Marketing problem: most Greeks eat Greek food at home, where Yiayia (Grandma) cooks it better than any restaurant would.
Greek restaurateurs are equally challenged by the recent growth in the number of Lebanese and other Middle Eastern restaurants, whose cuisine is similar to those of the Greek places. Not a coincidence: all of it can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, which dominated Greece and the Middle East for centuries and left many culinary practices behind.