Meat-Off: Bereket Vs. Kebab Garden

Meat-Off: Bereket Vs. Kebab Garden

Vegetarians: Read no further.

It’s time for the long awaited “Meat-Off” between Turkish street food vendors Bereket and Kebab Garden! I’ve been waiting for this battle-turkal (another new word from EVP) for quite a while. Today’s the day for a comparison of doner kebab (lamb) sandwiches created from the vertical spinning meat we all love to hate.

Pictured on the left: the old timer – the reigning champ some might say – Bereket located on the corner of Orchard and Houston in New York City’s Lower East Side. On the right, from 10009, the newcomer, the East Village’s very own – Kebab Garden which rests majestically with its flaming sign between 7th and 8th streets on First Avenue.

Kebab Garden Sign

Kebab Garden Sign

Each sandwich was purchased by an undercover East Village Podcasts blogger for about 5 bucks, taken back to the home office for photo shoot and gastronomical tests.

I must say.. it was hotter than hell in both restaurants and I felt bad enough that I tipped each kebab-smith $1. Yeah, yeah. Big deal. But, usually I’m even cheaper.

Eating Doner

Eating Doner

My first sandwich taste was from Bereket. I dove in teeth first and immediately engaged crunchy thick cuts of tomato and onions through a thin layer of pita bread. The meat itself came next. In that this was my first sandwich, I was extra ravenous and ate quickly as the cucumber and hot sauces bathed my tongue in divine, caloric bliss. I stopped. Then, came the meat aftertaste. NOT GOOD. This is why I eat this stuff after a good, long night of drinking.

I put down the Bereket fist feast and took hold of my Kebab Garden sandwich – a bit larger in size with thicker breading than the Bereket pita. In fact, I don’t think the Kebab Garden sandwich bread is a pita.. it’s more like a decent, mealy textured, hamburger bun. The first bite made me realize what a monster this was as I struggled to get my mouth around it. I’m sure some of you can sympathize. Rim shot!

The tomatoes and onions were cut more thinly and were less abundant than the the Bereket sandwich.. The hot sauce was mild and the meat…

The Winner: Kebab Garden

The Winner: Kebab Garden

Ahh the meat.. crumbly, juicy, succulent, leaving no unfortunate aftertaste in my originally-from-the-midwest mouth.

I took a few more bites from each while washing it down with a Heineken light. I eventually gave up on the Bereket sandwich and threw it in the bag hanging on my doorknob. The Kebab Garden sandwich, however, went down my East Village gullet.

The winner of this “Meat-Off”: Kebab Garden. Congratulations!

For more reading on turkish street food, try The New Yorker’s recent article on “Forbidden Fare” (Unfortunately, you may have to buy the DVD? New Yorker – get with the program.).


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August 8th, 2007

Entry Filed under: Food - Competitive


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