Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Chicken Kebab Wrap at SP Kebab
Few things are as potentially ominous as a new kebab spot. Thankfully, the heavily spiced chicken and pork found at SP Kebab on N Sheridan Rd. makes a strong case for the food on the minimal menu, which including the Chicken Kebab in Lahmacun Wrap ( $7.49) with fries and salad atop.
There is a need for warning: this is not a wrap for someone looking for a snack. In terms of sheer mass, it makes everything but the most overstuffed Chipotle burrito look like a responsible dining choice. Easily seven-plus inches of meat, lettuce, and fries, it is not a meal for those who come unprepared to leave with either mild gastrointestinal distress or leftovers. Luckily, the wrap is good enough that you can push through until (most of) the end.
While the payoff is worth it, it does come with a bit of a distribution problem. The first few bites are mostly fairly bland but well-grilled lahmacun wrap, cucumber, tomato, and lettuce, which don't exactly deliver a lot of cumulative flavor. Then comes a mix of perfectly crispy and spicy cajun french fries, lettuce, and a hint of the moist chicken. Then, suddenly, everything but the fries and chicken disappears:
The last few bites are mostly chicken and the pooled, but delightful, tahini and tzatziki sauces that wallop your tastebuds with spice. By that time, your stomach is telling you to stop, but your heart and mouth tell you that you've reached the best part (though your heart probably only says this because it doesn't realize what you are doing to it until it's far too late).
For some, the progression is a big minus. However, because it is such a big undertaking, it's almost as if you are getting a variety of different wrap experiences on the same plate. If it were all uniform, a lot of the strong flavors could wear down your palate. Instead, you get to go on a trip of ever-increasing spice and flavor to a slightly painful, but still happy ending.
About the author: Nathan Lurz is an intern at Serious Eats Chicago. When he's not reviewing the occasional sammich, he spends his time trying to convince people to pay him to be a journalist and being amazed he is a professional sandwich reviewer.