Gourmet Grill Masters - Irvine
This lamb shawarma wrap is probably not the thing you ought to order if you go to Gourmet Grill Masters in Irvine. The signature item that put their catering truck--which does rounds at LA’s farmers markets--on Jonathan Gold’s list of Bests is the rotisserie chicken. The Pulitzer Prize winner honored Gourmet Grill Master’s hens as the best roast birds in LA, which is high praise when you consider what’s out there.
But alas, when I came to GGM in Irvine (their first brick-and-mortar store) I was at lunch break and had no desire to mack on a juice-gushing chicken with my good shirt on. A full-on rotisserie bender complete with finger-licking and toum fouling up my breath would have to wait.
In the meantime, it was the shawarma, and it was still more food than I intended to eat in an hour. I was not prepared for its girth. This was a shawarma that beats just about all other shawarmas I’ve had in magnitude. For all intents and purposes, it was a giant Middle Eastern burrito, especially when you consider that it uses the very same pliant and pleasantly stretchy flour tortillas places like Alberto’s employ for their carne asada gut bombs. This "burrito" is just as similarly mottled to crispness in spots, a thin barrier holding back a barrage of onions, tomatoes, lettuce and seasoned lamb meat shaved from an ever-rotating spit.
Along with the excess of filling, there’s an excess of flavor within those tortilla walls. For sure they’ve slathered on a bit of garlic paste, and probably some tahini (and perhaps just a tad too much onion). Not that the lamb really needs the assist: the crumbly and griddle-singed edges of this ground meat loaf-like thing sings of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and oregano. Also contributing to distend my tummy: they gave out complimentary baskets of deep-fried mini pillows of tortilla with a minty dipping sauce on the side, just because they're nice.
Yes, I’ll try the rotisserie chicken soon. I’ve got a shirt ready to sacrifice for the occasion.
Gourmet Grill Masters
14141 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92620
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