Review: Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches in St. Louis Hills
Yapi Mediterranean Subs and Sandwiches is a casual, family-run spot at 6413 Hampton Ave., that dishes out huge portions of classic Middle Eastern comfort food. While it has sparse decor and just a handful of tables, the kitchen is a true powerhouse. Chef-owner Armin Grozdanic makes it his personal mission to turn out big flavors with high-quality ingredients. These are a few of the best dishes.
Yapi’s Gyro Supreme is a showstopper. Easily big enough to feed two, the hearty sandwich offers thick, tender hunks of traditional gyro meat sliced to order and seared on a flattop. Moist but not too oily, the meat is cooked along with buttered somun, a soft and puffy bread thicker than plain old pita.
The somun is then packed to overflowing with the lamby gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mild banana pepper, cucumber slices, a sprinkle of feta and a ranch-laced tzatziki sauce. It’s exactly the rich flavors you expect from a traditional gyro and a pleasure to devour.
The Yapi Burger
The Yapi Burger utilizes a quarter-pound of kosher/halal beef for a solidly constructed take on a classic. Seasoned simply with salt and pepper and cooked to order on a searing grill, the quality of the meat shines through.
The thick, juicy patty is plopped on a crispy, buttered bun along with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, pickle, a healthy drizzle of mayo and decadent liquid cheddar. The hot, crispy side of fries is seasoned to surprisingly great effect with dry ranch dressing powder.
Crispy and plump, savory and soft, a gang of five falafel balls comes with a cup of creamy tzatziki sauce for dunking. Fans will find it hard to share these, which make a great side order to any sandwich.
The Bosnian equivalent of a kebab, cevapi is the house specialty. The star of the menu is carefully prepped with minced beef and special seasonings, then cured 24 hours before being pressed into little sausage-like links ready for the flattop.
While the traditional version incorporates 20 percent lamb, this one comprises only beef, though Grozdanic smartly cooks lamb grease into the thick and crispy somun it’s served in so that it retains the extra-savory kick of the most classic iteration. The cevapi is served with a layer of red onion, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, banana peppers and sour cream.
During lunch hours, service can slow to a crawl. Small operations, especially popular ones, can easily get overwhelmed during peak hours. Call ahead and carry out if time is an issue.
Matt Berkley is a longtime contributor and critic for Sauce Magazine.
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