Arby’s introduced its version of gyros about a year ago. It is now back in some locations as a temporary item.
A little history on the gyro…although there is some debate, it is widely accepted that gyros sandwiches are Greek in origin. They are popular in the U.S., especially in cities with a large Greek population. For example, gyros can be had in almost every local hot dog place in the Chicagoland area.
For those of you that are not familiar, the sandwich typically consists of a lamb and beef mix of meat that is cooked on a rotating spit. The meat is seared on the outside, and then sliced directly off of the rack. The meat is placed on a pita bread with tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki sauce is yogurt based, and usually contains cucumbers and seasonings. It is spread over the top of the meat and veggies. Consistencies of the sauce vary. There are also slight variances in the toppings of the sandwich. For example, sometimes lettuce is used. The variations are not “authentic,” however.
Finally, people do not know how to pronounce the name of the sandwich correctly. It is pronounced like the word “hero,” but with a ‘y’ sound at the beginning. It is pronounced “yeeros.” A true Greek person will tell you it is pronounced with the ‘s’ on the end, regardless if singular or plural. Most places drop the ‘s’ in the U.S. And most places pronounce it “jyro.” UGH! We can pretty much guarantee that nobody at Arby’s will pronounce it right, so call it whatever you want. In fact, if you order it pronouncing it correctly, the Arby’s worker will probably stare at you like you just landed. But we digress…
Arby’s offers two versions of the sandwich. One uses the regular roast beef as the meat. The other uses turkey. Arby’s website says that both versions come with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce, and Greek seasonings.
The first blaring thing we need to say about these sandwiches is that they are NOT authentic. They are not authentic at ALL. There is no lamb in sight. Turkey is NEVER used on a real gyros (although you can find a version in authentic restaurants that uses chicken, but meh). The only thing that resembles a true gyros sandwich is the tzatziki sauce, to which we do give Arby’s credit for using the real name, and not some kind of fake alternative.
Come to think of it, Arby’s roast beef itself isn’t traditional roast beef. It is Arby’s take on roast beef. So basically, we are taking an Arby’s version of something, and putting it on yet another Arby’s version of something. Lost? So are we! We don’t know what the hell is going on here, but we usually don’t. Time to have another beer…
Most Arby’s are offering 2 of these suckers for $6. That’s not a bad price for two sandwiches, and this way a Fewd Snob can get one of each and not go broke.
Now that we have lost you with the background, let’s discuss the beef one, shall we?
We have had these several times when they have been available, and the first thing to note is that the meat is NOT spread evenly. Also notice that the seasoning is not spread evenly. Sometimes, as in the pic above, the seasoning will all be in one place. DO NOT make the mistake of biting into this glob of seasoning. You will regret it. We don’t know why it is so hard for the average Arby’s employee to spread out the meat and seasoning, so we just do it ourselves and the problem is solved.
Despite the look of the picture, there is a decent amount of meat and veggies on the pita. It just needs to be spread out. One bitch we have for sure is that there is not enough tzatziki sauce at all. There absolutely needs to be more.
Once you do Arby’s work for them and spread everything out, you end up with a pretty decent sandwich.
The Fewd Snobs agree that the flavor of the sandwich is quite good. The most surprising aspect of the whole thing is that the tzatziki is actually good. We did not expect this. We both know what real tzatziki tastes like, and neither of us expected it to be good. Or even halfway good. It blends well, but there just needs to be more of it.
The pita is actually good, too. It is exactly the same as you would find at a place in Chicago that specilizes in gyros. Again, we didn’t expect this.
Probably the biggest thing to note here is that this isn’t authentic at all. But nobody should expect that. This is Arby’s version of the gyros. Truth be told, Arby’s stuck to the traditional recipe for the most part, but substituted its own roast beef in for the lamb and beef mix. The end result is basically a gyros sandwich with Arby’s beef. And somehow, it truly is good. You can’t walk in and order one of these expecting the “real thing.” If you keep an open mind, and figure this is Arby’s version, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Speaking of not traditional…
…the turkey version of Arby’s gyros is interesting. There is certainly nothing authentic about this one. With the beef, we guess you can argue that it is beef, and beef is closer to a real gyros than turkey. Everything about it is the same as the beef, but with turkey (no kidding??). The slices are of real turkey. This is the kind Arby’s uses on its premium turkey sandwiches. It has a very good, juicy texture and flavor. The Greek seasoning compliments the flavor of the meat very well. Generally, we have found the meat and seasonings on the turkey version to be more evenly distributed. This makes no sense, but we have seen it over and over.
The Fewd Snobs argree that the turkey version is better than the beef. We kind of thought this would turn into a Fewd Fight!, but no such luck. We both think the turkey sandwich has more flavor, and is juicier. It is more satisfying overall.
Our collective thoughts are that these are excellent breaks from burgers and fries. It is nice to see an option like this in a fast food place. Even an attempt at an ethnic food such as gyros is cool to see. The fact that it doesn’t completely suck is pretty cool, too. And don’t let the pita thing fool you. This is Fewd Snobs fewd. This isn’t some healthy crap on a pita. Douse anything in tzatziki sauce, and you have a Fewd Snob heaven. Check these out while you can, and remember they only appear on a limited time basis.