One of the many things Shelby and I fell in love with while we lived in Germany was gyros - or at least that's what we called them. We were actually eating doner kebabs which hail from Turkey. There was a good sized group of Turkish people in Germany so naturally some of their dishes came with them. My favorite shop was one on the way to Nuremberg; the owner was of Turkish decent but born and raised in D.C. He had family in Germany and decided to move there and ended up running a little gyros shop. I first stopped by there on the suggestion of one of the other soldiers who had more time in country...and a car. I was going wherever he took me.
I fell in love after the first bite. It was great watching the lamb and veal, thinly sliced and stacked on a spit, turn on an upright rotisserie. I believe doner kebab translates roughly into "one that turns" or something like that. The meat would be shaved off the spit into a tray then it was placed into half of a large pita
Shawarma is basically the same thing as a doner kebab, each region has their own ingredients for the wraps/pitas and what you see above is the best shawarma I've had in Hampton Roads. It's from a shop called Mr. Shawarma in Norfolk, VA on 21st St. I remember hearing about it opening not too long ago and always meant to swing by. We finally hit the spot after going to the Evil Twin Brewing mini tap take-over at The Birch.
The shop is tucked in off the street and when we first walked in we saw some kids hanging out in one of the booths. The owner Avi Eli was behind the counter chatting with a customer while he prepared food. An assortment of toppings sat in front of Avi, his hands dashed into them tossing them on the flatbread according to the customer's order. Shelby ordered the falafel in pita and I got the shawarma wrap. While we waited for our food to be made we were given samples of the falafel - so good! I could eat a bucket of those things with the tahini sauce he topped it with. Avi is a lively guy with a sharp sense of humor, when Shelby said she didn't know what to do he said, "I have a girlfriend already, sorry."
We took our orders to go but ended up eating the fries/chips in the car. When we got home we both marveled at how good our food was. My shawarma had shaved turkey in it that was seasoned perfectly, I got mine "hot" so it was spiced up a bit but not too hot at all. Shelby's falafel was crisp on the outside but had a soft, firm texture when bit into.
This is definitely a "must try" if you're in Norfolk, wish he tried this sooner.
Check out fellow food and drink enthusiast Steve Attenweiler write-up on HamptonRoads.com.