Portland, OR – Doner Kebab

Doner Kebab, Portland

Doner Kebab, Portland

The sign outside says “German food”, and

doner kebab certainly qualifies, despite its origins – it has become one of the most popular take-out dishes in Germany.   The words “doner kebab” literally mean “rotating meat”, and you might be familiar with the concept from other cultures – being similar to a gyro, or shawarma.

I’d never noticed this little place at 515 SW 4th in downtown Portland, largely because the sign, store front, really don’t leap out at you.  And for some reason, I discovered, I am more likely to walk on the other side of the street in this neighborhood.

But “discover it”, I did, yesterday, and was surprised, when I inquired, to find out they have been open over two years.

In addition to the rotating meat sandwiches and plates, you’ll find a wide variety of typical German sausages, including garlic, bier, brat, or weisswursts (the latter made from minced veal and bacon), as well as schnitzels, rouladen, and sauerbraten.

Doner Kebab has some vegetarian options, and salads as well.   My first inclination was to go with wienerschnitzel on  a bun, however they only offer the veal on a plate – if you want a schnitzel sandwich, chicken is your choice.    I would have liked a little more flexibility from the kitchen to accommodate my request, but it was strictly “verbotten.”

So I went with the garlic sausage on a bun, akin to a polish sausage in texture and taste, and the bun is more like the traditional flat bread used for the gyro-like sandwiches,  but no complaint from me on that.  It was stuffed full of a delicious kraut, with was generously flavored with bacon pieces, a nice surprise.

Doner Kebab, Portland

Doner Kebab, Portland

They’ll bring you a nice tray of mustards, 7 or 8 varieties, which I thought was a nice touch, and although I am usually not adventurous in this category, I really like the wasabi-lime mustard.   Their specialty mustards are furnished by

Terrapin Ridge, a northern Illinois company.   I hadn’t heard of this company before, unusual, having lived in that area.  It’s a nice change to see these, in a town where usually ‘adventurous’ mustards are usually provided by local producer, Beaverton Foods. (which is a very good product, as well).

The restaurant touts their ‘home-made’ fries, which were kind of unusual.  They have a slight breading, and almost the texture of an extruded potato product, but with bits of potato skin which would lead you to believe they are cut potatoes.  The result is a very light french fry, fried in, I believe, one of the ‘healthier’ oils, giving a tasty and not so oily experience.

Table condiments are completed by having salt and pepper grinders ringside.

This place reminds me of a typical casual food shop in Europe, and certainly that’s their goal – and they succeed, right down to the bathroom style and fixtures.

The help is perfunctorily courteous, the food hot and fresh,  This is definitely a new lunch stop for me, as perhaps a new take-out dinner choice (open til 8PM), and – for some reason, open 1A-4A on weekends for the bar crowd.

Beverage choices range from Pepsi products to a dozen well-known German beers, little emphasis on local craft brewing here, and that’s absolutely fine.

There are more than a couple places to get your schnitzel on in Portland these days, but these guys really do it right.

Menus and descriptions can be found online.

Garlic Wurst, Doner Kebab, Portland

Garlic Wurst, Doner Kebab, Portland

Doner Kebab on Urbanspoon