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Mekan Gyro & Grill review

Medford's Mekan Gyro & Grill's mixed pide, a

Medford's Mekan Gyro & Grill's mixed pide, a pizza-like Turkish flatbread, is topped with shredded kashkaval cheese (a sheep's milk cheese), Turkish sausage, green bell pepper, tomato and an egg. Credit: Nicole Horton

Sebastian Kurun's house-made lamb and beef gyro stands a cut above most others. Order the savory, juicy shards of meat as a wrap (which, here, means enfolded in flaky house-baked bread) and you're in for fine eating. Just don't expect to be doing it in posh surroundings.

That's because Mekan Gyro & Grill, tucked into a nondescript strip mall, is a utilitarian spot functioning as both a counter-service cafe and Turkish grocery. Dinnerware is disposable paper and plastic; grab a drink from the refrigerator case and find a table. If you're near the chilly front door, just ask the hospitable chef-owner-host, and he'll bring over a space heater.

Another thing you might want to request is house-made bread instead of commercial pita, which usually accompanies such dips as the subtly garlicky hummus, tahini-enriched baba ghanoush or fiery acili ezme (spiced chopped vegetables). Zucchini pancakes, which Kurun makes every morning, are reheated and, as such, OK, but nowhere near the level of what he makes to order.

That he is an ace kebab-maker becomes apparent the minute you dig into his mixed-grill platter. On it you'll find a spicy Adana kebab (a blend of ground lamb, red peppers and paprika), gyro, kofte (or Turkish meatballs) and boneless white meat chicken kebabs, every component juicy and smoky. The same holds true for his chicken chops, grilled marinated boneless dark meat. Beyti kebab -- ground lamb with garlic, parsley and hot peppers -- is a standout that packs a spicy wallop.

With every platter comes a salad of chopped tomatoes, parsley and cucumbers; it's pretty ordinary, a bit too cold. You also get a choice of bulgur pilaf -- mushy one occasion, ideal the next -- or white rice, which is surprisingly good.

Not to be missed is Kurun's delectable pide, a flaky boat-shaped pie. The "mixed" version is filled with Kashkaval cheese, Turkish sausage, tomatoes and peppers, crowned with a fried egg. Vegetarians will especially enjoy the falafel wrap.

Finish with the creamy rice pudding called sutlac. Or a little square of flaky, sweet baklava. Both are made by Mekan's kitchen dynamo.

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