Having heard about this place for a while, I finally had a chance to drop in for lunch this past Saturday in the middle of a day of errands and shopping downtown. I dug their simple modern decor/exterior and the straightforward menu, which consists of doner kebabs made with chicken, lamb or falafel - the same offered as "shwarma" - in a sandwich, and a few specialties such as shrimp, salmon and kofte. They also offer a dish called the "iskender" kebab, which is lamb with a tomato-ey sauce and lebneh yogurt.
I chose the chicken doner kebab, based largely on fond memories of the Gardenia - a kebab shop in the heart of Cambridge where I spent many a late evening after the pubs during the summer of 1990. Their version is quite different, but every bit as delicious. It's served on a thin warm lightly crisp flatbread - not a tortilla though it looks like one - and stuffed with sliced chicken, lots of incredibly garlicky yogurt sauce and fresh vegetables. It was so good I found myself continuing to eat, even after I was pretty well full.
A few days later, I picked some up to bring home for dinner, a easy and relatively cheap proposition, considering they're located downtown and the sandwiches are only $4.95 apiece. The wrap was definitely best eaten fresh - when it sat for a while, the crispness of the bread and contrast in texture was lost. It was still good, just not the transcendent experience the first one was.
The guys working there were friendly and professional, and extremely fast - just a couple of minutes, if that - to get the sandwiches made. They also have some cold salads in their case - but on both my visits they looked a little tired. I imagine they're best earlier in the day.
Easy? Cheap? Independent? Delicious? Convenient?
Check, check, check, check, check.
I will definitely be back!
The Kebab Shop
630 9th Avenue (at Market)
San Diego, CA 92101