Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
This is a highly personal tale for me. Several years ago, I had a gyro burrito at the Greek Sombrero in Jamul. I still haven' t forgotten how delicious that burrito was. Unsure whether or not I would ever return to that Greco-Mexican watering hole along the 94, I had resigned myself to the fact that I might never eat another gyro burrito again.
A Mediterranean-Mexican fusion restaurant right in the heart of North Park! Conferring with the online menu verified the my hopes: they served a gyro burrito!
Apparently, the current restaurant is a reincarnation of a Hillcrest shop that closed some time ago. Now, there's a greater focus on bringing together the seemingly disparate cuisines of Mexico and the Near East. The gyro burrito fits right into that plan.
The enormous menu board behind the counter had no gyro burrito listed. I scanned it once, twice, read over the paper menu sitting on the counter; no gyro burrito.
"Do you have the gyro burrito?" I asked the guy behind the counter.
He said they did!
I mentioned that it wasn't on the menu.
"Oh, this is the old menu," he said. "Soon there will be a new one."
Perhaps the new menu is identical to the one I had seen online. Curious, that the digital menu should be more up to date than the one in the material world when the opposite is almost always true. Regardless, I was getting my gyro burrito ($5.45).
I sat on the patio, which is great for afternoon sun and commands a good look out at University Ave, and waited a longer than expected time considering the restaurant was dead. When the burrito arrived, with its little side dish of tzatziki sauce, I was drooling with anticipation.
After the first bite, my dreams collapsed in on themselves like an over-caffeinated boy scout's pup tent. There was no rice or cheese or beans. No salsa, no pico. There was only a thin slice of gyro meat and a bit of salad. A burrito, it was not. The most fitting term would have to be, and I shudder to even type it, a "wrap." Neither sandwich nor burrito, with all the failings of each and the glories of neither.
For the sake of fairness, let it be known that I'll always give an alternative burrito a shot! I was starved, so I ate the whole thing, but the hopes were well shattered.
I also tried some of Ramzee's carne asada street tacos($5.50 for 3). They were superior to the gyros burrito, but only moderately so. The meat was on the watery side and lacked any real depth of flavor. The dominant taste was, if anything, onion and cilantro rather than rich, carne asada.
Overall, Ramzees did not deliver on the promise of Mediterranean-Mexican fusion in the way I had hoped it would.
3028 University Ave