Food Critic: In search of the perfect gyro, Part 2

Nicholas Wesley, Correspondent

Does Euro bistro have the best gyro in Wilkes-Barre? To quote the dude, “that’s just like, your opinion, man.” Despite that first sentence, I will not subject this piece to open biasness, before I have even tried all of the limited options Wilkes-Barre has to offer. What I will say is they got some damn good gyros.

The first thing you notice when you walk into Euro Bistro on the square is the atmosphere. This is an aesthetically pleasing joint, not the place where you are worried about how legit your food is going to be. There is a very well done mural on the wall, definitely take time to examine and enjoy it.

You also may see some sort of extraterrestrial garden; don’t be frightened, be enlightened. That’s an aquaponics garden, and thanks to Enactus club here at Wilkes, Euro Bistro is able to offer freshly grown, in-house produce on their already superior products. Definitely a big plus in my book.

Now enough with the environment, how’s the chow? Hold on, let’s set up the experience a little more. So you go up to order, if you are lucky, you are greeted by the owner, Ivan or his dad Emil, two interesting characters. I will not say more about these folks, but if the food doesn’t bring you back (which I doubt), you may find yourself stopping in for some good conversation.

But seriously! How is the GYRO! Well, they are good. They have a choice of chicken, lamb and beef. All are delicious. They prepare the meat early in the morning, slicing it into thin wafers and putting it on a skew. Then letting it roast, slooowly. They slice to order, on your choice of pita bread or tortilla.

Then they have you choose your toppings, olives, peppers, tomatos, spring mix lettuce, they have more than eight choices (the exact number evades me, but it’s enough). You guide Ivan through this journey of toppings, but then the sauce. The Tzatziki sauce (that’s the yogurt sauce on a gyro for you noobs) is very good, a nice and tangy complement to the dish, and the hot sauce adds this special kick.

My recommendation is to add Tzatziki, and a lil’ bit of hot. It gives it that kick, that is promptly extinguished by the Tzatziki, giving a nice complex variety of flavors.

After this dish is rolled into the pita or tortilla, mind you, this is not standard protocol in the gyro world, they will toss it into a panini press, to give it a compact warm finish.

Now he will add a chunk of sauce to the top, don’t be alarmed, and whatever you do, DON’T BITE RIGHT INTO IT. I don’t want to sound overbearing and tell you how to eat your food, but I feel you should be warned that the best way to eat this is by chomping on the side and returning to the Tahiti volcano side periodically throughout the dish.

A quick side note before I cap this baby: They have many other options of delicious meals. Their paninis are fantastic; Emil bakes the bread in house, the pizza is also a solid slice. There are plenty of vegetarian options, such as baked falafel, their fantastic mac and cheese and the soups of the day, plus they got a salad bar.

Back to the reason were here, how was it? Overall they use a nontraditional approach to the gyro, in the monotonized Greco-American sense of the word. They push for the tortilla which is good but the pita is always overflowing with ingredients, making for a messy lunch.

Nevermind the mess, how was the taste? It is a very good eats, the meat is freshly prepared and it shows! They clearly put a lot of care into creating this and never substitute quality. Their base ingredients are superior to anything you’d find at those eerily similar gyro joints plaguing any medium to large city.

With care and grace your food is prepared in front of you, no room for question, no possibility of spit. Cost-wise the food is very fair priced, 5-8 buck gets you full.

My recommendation is don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself. This is a great place to have a lunch, if you go there enough, you will notice regulars of an almost cult-like following. This is definitely a place that will stay in Wilkes-Barre. Give it a try.

Email me @ [email protected] and tell me what you thought about it, along with recommendation for other local staples.