Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lincoln Good Eats: Ali Baba Gyros

Far overdue for such rich accolades, Ali Baba Gyros, the downtown Lincoln dive since 1990, has been the only consistient 3-times-a-month lunch spot for me since we moved out here 9 years ago. The brothers and their nephew that run the place are always friendly & appreciative, typically remembering your usual order after just a few visits. About once every other week (it could easily be much more often, if I let it), the craving becomes overwheming. I need a "Z" Plate. Slap down a warm pita, a layer of their perfectly steamed & griddle-finished Greek fries, gyro meat, their flavorfule, creamy/tart tzakziki (cuccumber) sauce, feta cheese, and some oregano sprinkled on top. The way I like to finish it? I good dousing of simple Louisiana Hot Sauce. Not for the heat so much, which isn't even that hot at all, but it seems to mingle with that cuccumber sauce perfectly. I walk through that plate like a fat kid loves cake.

Recently I had eaten a far-too-light breakfast (I'm trying to get this whole metabolism thing right), and by 11:00, I was ready to eat my own arm off. Burger fix. As long as you don't do this daily, or every other day, and you tend to move around more than the average person.....go ahead, indulge. Ali Baba's was the destination for something I'd never tried before.....the Gyro Cheeseburger. To call it a religious experience might be a stretch, but not by much. The stats: toasted sesame seed bun, 1/3-1/2 lb grilled patty, swiss cheese, ketchup to adhere a pile of gyro meat to the burger, lettuce, tomato, cuccumber sauce, finished with a bit of hot sauce. My new favorite ground bovine sandwich in Lincoln. God Bless you, boys.

For Lincolnites who still go to that other place next door to Ali Baba's.....you know, the one on the corner claiming to be "King of the Gyros"?? Forget it. 3 things that trump the other guys: THe Greek fries, the sauce (actually MORE than just sour cream), and Ali's Tuesday & Friday special, the roasted Greek Chicken. Easily the hidden gem of Lincoln lunch specials. This is the definition of real food. But don't take this hack's word for it....look at the crowd. Need I say more?

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