Where: DNR European Café and Deli, 4621 Montrose Blvd, 713-529-0367
What $13 will get you: That's way more than you ever need to spend here. We tried anyway.
Take the quintessential European fast food joint--the döner kebab stand, which was invented in Berlin by Turkish immigrants--Americanize it and stick it on a street corner in Montrose, and you have the kind of place that gets away with advertising itself as Mediterranean healthy (Olive oil! Fiber!) while providing the opportunity for a saturated fat coma to compete with the likes of a McDonald's or Taco Bell.
Like any good döner stand, there was the requisite group of single men, some in suits, who seemed to have been sitting at a table in back all day. Only here, they can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. Other than these usual suspects and the rustic-ish wall-paper, DNR looks like an updated version of The Max from Saved by the Bell. The booths are lined with an early-nineties pleather, but HD flat screens on the walls and even cash registers flash an endless loop of menu items to a soundtrack of songs such as the Seal version of "If You Don't Know Me By Now".
The DNR Wrap is the closest thing on hand to a standard döner, except the freshly shaved lamb-beef (from that mesmerizing rotating slab) goes into a sparse wrap with a couple of tomato and onion chunks. The hybrid meat is filling enough if a little too dry, though, and the cucumber sauce shoulders some of the burden, so don't rule this out as a decent döner fix.
The Beyti, on the other hand, earns its spot as the signature--and, at $8.49, most expensive--dish. It's a lamb-beef mixture inside a casserole lined with melted cheese and covered in a slightly sweet tomato-based sauce, served with rice and pickles. If you do plan on spending that full $13, keep in mind that the Beyti tastes just as good cold for breakfast.
The Karoun All Natural Yogurt Drink Original came with a warning from the girl behind the counter that it is an "acquired taste". We're just not quite sure who would go through the trouble of acquiring it. Think plain liquid yogurt flavored only by a full shaker of salt. The nutrition facts say it all: 20 grams of fat, 12 saturated--in addition to a whopping 600mg of sodium (about the equivalent of two servings of Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna). The drink advertises itself as a "refreshing beverage" that can be used, among other things, to "quench a thirst".
Since Karoun is best enjoyed after vigorous physical activity, we probably shouldn't categorize it as dessert. Which leaves the ice cream, or, more accurately, a cross between Fro-Yo (the base) and a snow cone (the syrup flavorings). The adventurous can try all nine flavors at once.
Our creation began as a lovely rainbow (which we couldn't help but notice matched the umbrellas on the astro-turf patio out front), then quickly melted into a brown puddle. As best we could tell before that happened, butter pecan is far and away the best, while Pina Colada is to be avoided at all costs.
Recommended? Absolutely. You can choose to be relatively healthy or down-right disgusting. The best of the European and American fast food worlds.
Bonus Point: For five bucks, you can get a Turkish coffee. Nobody was able to read our fortunes in the coffee grinds, though.