Replacing K-Pop at the lively junction of 18th and Castro Streets is Gyro Xpress, an unfortunately named Middle Eastern joint with a wine list and some really nice lighting fixtures. The menu, while larger than the offerings at the New York-style halal cart on Market, leans heavily on a conservative formula. This is standard stuff: gyros and shawarma, mostly. Gyro Xpress is probably going to do a lot of takeout business.
The $10.95 lamb and beef gyro plate was a generous helping of meat, rice, salad and tzitzaki, plus pita pockets. It's a sizeable lunch, and plenty tasty, but nothing anyone's going to descend on the neighborhood for, as it shies away from any strident heat. For everyone who oozes out of a bar in the wee hours, Gyro Xpress is open until 2 a.m. And for everyone who likes to spy on passing eye candy while eating lamb shawarma, Gyro Xpress is open for all your hard-cruising needs at 11 a.m.
The intersection sees about as much foot traffic as any intersection outside of Downtown and the Wharf, so it's hard to conceive of why everything that goes in at the northwest corner is so mediocre. K-Pop didn't last 18 months, and its predecessor Soup Freaks was almost universally panned. Having exceeded that low threshold, Gyro Xpress ought to last awhile. Unless the location really is just doomed.
Gyro Xpress, 499 Castro, 554-0352.