|Doner platter at Rudy's|
It's a Turkish cousin to the shwarma or gyro. A roasted meat cooked on a vertical spit, then carved off in slices that run from a crispy edge to a moist interior. The Turks have spread them across Europe, and Rudy's Mediterranean has brought them to Columbia.
The 2 Dudes Who Love Food blog were the first to write up Rudy's. The dudes have eaten in Istanbul, and they said that they felt the place when they ate hummus, an eggplant salad, doner, a minced lamb kabob, and more.
I can't vouch for Rudy's authenticity, but I can vouch for the meat. Bad gyros taste of the freezer or have monotonous flavor across the sandwich. Rudy's "Iskender Kebab" dinner tastes sliced for the order. The edges are crisp, and the meat has a rich flavor without being greasy. With the pita bread and the garlicy yogurt sauce, it's delicious and definitely the taste of a kitchen trying to do something unusual.
Reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp are as wide as the menu. Some talk up the breakfast, the lentil soup, the rice pudding; others weren't happy at all. I really recommend the doner. That's the kind of meat that makes me want to splurge. They serve a wrap for lunch and a few entrees at dinner. I hope you can just get a sandwich with pita and the doner meat.
One bonus: Rudy's serves Turkish coffee as part of its dinner entrees. It's fun. It's tiny cups of strong coffee. Definitely a touch -- like the free green tea at Sushi Sono -- that helps to create a special feel.
Rudy's Mediterranean Grill
7185 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
NEAR: Rudy's is easy to reach even though you can't see it from the road. It's just south of Rte 175 on Columbia Gateway Drive. (That's the signs that I thought meant "Colonel Gateway Drive" for years.) You curve a bit to get there. Follow the knife and fork signs and then turn right up into a shopping center. The same center has the Flavors of India restaurant as well.