The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: hummus

Visit to Aladdin’s

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon. We happened to be in Sandy Springs, and lunch was beckoning. P suggested we go to Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill & Deli on Roswell Road. I enjoy Mediterranean food, so off we went.

Alladin's

It has been a long time since I have eaten at a restaurant and enjoyed the experience so immensely, PLUS I managed to get a few good photographs (thanks to the gorgeous light and the wide windows at Aladdin’s), so I thought a blog post was merited.

The menu is fairly simple at Aladdin’s. I wish I had clicked a shot of the blackboard with the handwritten menu. There are many vegetarian options. P had visited Aladdin’s earlier for an office team lunch, so he ordered for both of us.

It was simply wonderful. The flavors, the freshness, the vibrancy of ingredients, the casual atmosphere… the trio of giggling kids at the next table, their serious-faced parents (Mom looking every bit stylish and Middle Eastern, as I’d imagine) and the Arabic music playing in the background – all in all, a supremely relaxing and delicious lunch experience.

Minty Water

Minty Water

Let’s take a moment to talk about water?

How adorable, right? Giant glass tumblers filled with cool water, a dash of rosewater, fresh mint leaves and lemon slivers make for a refreshing beverage.

We ordered a bowl of Lentil Soup and the Vegetarian Platter. The lentil soup was simply flavored yet hearty in taste and texture. It came with a generous portion of pita croutons. I would have happily dumped the whole pile of croutons into the soup and slurped it all down, but I controlled myself… Sigh.

The Vegetarian Platter contained: Baba Ghanoush, Tahini sauce, four Falafels, Dolma, Jerusalem Salad, Tabouli and Hummus dip.

Can I just say that every item was delicious? It’d make for such a hackneyed description and a boring blog post but I think you understand my drift? These are the same dishes that grace the menus of most (if not all) Mediterranean eateries in the U.S., yet the freshness of the ingredients and the simplicity of preparation made for a delicious lunch repast.

Alladin

I wasn’t planning to eat the pita bread but their pillow softness was so tempting that I couldn’t resist. Made myself a generously loaded pita sandwich. The Tabouli salad was loaded with fresh parsley and lime (or lemon) juice with none of the mouth-puckering sourness. The Dolma was perfect. I am not the biggest fan of this stuffed vine leaf preparation but I enjoyed it this time.

I turned down dessert but I will give it a try next time.

Aladdin's Mediterranean Grill & Deli on Urbanspoon

Casual and Delicious at Mediterranean Grill

Walking into Mediterreanean Grill one afternoon, I was stumped.

Let me explain. I have become very used to the hostess-directing-guest-to-table-handing-menu and all the standard actions one encounters at restaurants and so, when I entered Mediterranean Grill and found a roomful of diners, eating and talking, a busy counter where platters of food were periodically placed, a guy at the register… you can figure out why I was stumped. But I recovered quickly. Found an empty (and clean) table, sat down and looked around. No server in sight. Ok, I get it. I walked to the counter, scanned the menu, placed my order, paid for it, went back to my table. Soon afterward, a guy called out, “Vegetarian Plate!” and I went to pick it up.

Mediterranean Grill is one of those little hole-in-the-wall places. The decor is plain and functional, the dining room is busy-noisy, there are no servers or fancy menus, the food comes quick! And it is delicious and cheap. Take a look at my Vegetarian Plate.

Vegetarian Plate

Vegetarian Plate

It featured green salad, one pita bread, two falafel patties, baba ghanouj, hummus, Jerusalem salad and tzatziki sauce. The platter generally features Tabouli Salad but it’s too sour for my taste. So I asked for Jerusalem salad instead. Actually, I had asked for Fetoush Salad but the guy told me that he’d have to make it specially. Ah, well… whatever that means. The falafel patties were excellent. Fresh and vibrant in flavor, easy on the garlic, fried to perfection with zero grease. The Baba Ghanouj was one of the best I have eaten in the United States, so also the Hummus. Tzatziki sauce was a little too sour for my taste but the texture was soft and creamy. All the items tasted wonderfully fresh and flavorful. It has been a while since I enjoyed food this much.

Can’t keep a good thing secret for long, so I went back to Mediterranean Grill with P. This time, he ordered the Vegetarian Plate and I got myself the Grilled Vegetables.  I also ordered a bowl of the Lentil Soup. P liked the Falafel a lot but he thought that the Pita bread was too chewy. Actually, I felt the same. It was soft and fresh-tasting but way too chewy. My platter of Grilled Vegetables included eggplant, zucchini, squash, onion, green pepper, tomatoes, mushroom with hummus and rice. Pretty good although I didn’t care much for the rice. It was cooked well but lacked seasoning. As for the Lentil Soup, it was wonderful. I am guessing it is made from Masoor Dal… Lightly spiced, piping hot, very homely and comforting.

On a whim, I ordered a piece of Walnut Baklava. The place had all but shut down but the guy behind the counter was nice, so he let me buy it. And he almost waived the price! But it was a sad piece of Baklava… 🙁 The filo layers fell off the walnut filling, sheesh. It was tasty (not overly sweet) but maybe we picked the wrong time to get it?

I can easily recommend Mediterranean Grill to a vegetarian. There are a few more vegetarian items on the menu remaining to be sampled, so another visit may be in order!

Mediterranean Grill
1255 Johnson Ferry Rd
Marietta GA 30068
678-996-0045

www.mediterraneangrill.com