Address: 3896 Northlake Blvd. (Northlake Commons Plaza with Home Depot)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Type food: Middle Eastern
Dining facilities: Part deli counter and part cafe with a few tables in this storefront eatery.
Service: Very friendly and helpful.
Delivery: Free within a 5-mile radius with a $20 minimum and for catering.
This small cafe has a big draw for breakfasts, and, on weekends, for the belly dancer and hookah pipe smoking ($12.99) at dinner.
The deli counter is always busy. We order a schwarma platter ($12.99) fit for a sheik. It's a container of the exotically spiced grilled lamb strips (we relish the allspice), tender and moist, that comes with a container of parsley-studded tabbouleh, a fresh cucumber-tomato salad with a hint of mint, a large serving of creamy hummus and a few crunchy raw turnip strips.
We feel healthy just opening the container. Because of a mix-up at the counter where we stammered when deciding whether to get lamb or chicken schwarma, they packed both with this order.
The chicken pieces – four large skin-on ones — are roasted to tenderness with a hint of lemon and garlic.
We also try the chicken shish tawook chicken on pita ($7.99 for the large), a wrap filled with grilled chicken, turnip strips, hummus, garlic-yogurt sauce, tomatoes, onions and tahini or sesame seed paste. It's delicious, flavorful and enough for two.
A cup of the avogolemono soup ($3.50) is a nice take on this Greek lemon-rice-chicken and egg drop tradition made without being over thickened, which is often the case.
For dessert, a square of just-right pistachio-crusted baklava ($2.75) and a pair of phyllo-wrapped nut pastries called ladyfingers ($1.75) are satisfying.
The menu is vast, with dishes from all corners of the Middle East. We recommend grazing from their appetizer list alone. They also feature Halal meats appropriate for certain religious observances. — Jan Norris