Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shamshiri Grill


Westwood, CA. "Is it nearby?" I turned to my friend, glancing at my watch, anxiously wondering if we actually had enough time. The plan was to meet for a bite then grab a few snacks for the road - donuts were on my mind and I knew just where I could get some. Unfortunately, traffic didn't permit the indulgence, taking nearly two hours to travel across a 5-mile distance. "Yes, yes, it's right up here." We entered into this eatery off Westwood Boulevard that I've never seen before, nor would I have noticed it in passing. My friend and his unique palate brought us to Shamshiri Grill, a local Middle Eastern restaurant. 

Lamb Shawarma Wrap
His taste buds tend to seek out heightened flavors with spicy tones and consistently veer towards Indian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Latin-American cuisine. I trusted his judgment in this venture. I'm not familiar enough with this genre of food to begin to pronounce much on the menu, but he said it was quite tasty - specifically their Lamb Shawarma Platter, Humus, and the Tahini and Garlic Sauce served with their wraps. I ordered the Lamb Shawarma Wrap, settled on a Green Salad with a Mint Vinaigrette side instead of Tabouli, and enjoyed it thoroughly. The rotisserie style lamb was served with a hearty portion of greens, tomato, and a dressing with just a hint of mint, wrapped in a wheat (or white) flatbread. Reasonably sized ramekins of Tahini and Hummus accompany the plate for dipping and my general enjoyment. Flatbread that had joined the table upon our sitting found its way into my hummus and subsequently, my belly.

I was enjoying the crisp crunch of the greens and was quickly filling up on the wrap, but found my attention shift immediately when the dish I forgot I ordered, had arrived: Vegetarian Pizza. Vegetarian Lahmaǰun with Cheese is what the menu states, but what is that? Referred to simply as an Armenian or Turkish pizza, the vegetables are a minced collection of onions, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and peppers, served atop a pizza-like dough. Sprinkled across the dish were chopped olives, and a heavy-handed helping of cheese. There was nothing to complain about with this choice. I saw my friend's eyes balloon with excitement, mirroring my own, and I knew I had to share. The concept was new to me, though quite 'normal' as I've read from other venues. The flavors drew me in, and I wanted more, but I didn't have enough stomach for another slice.

Vegetarian Pizza

Times up! I glanced again at the clock, realized an hour had passed, and I had to go. The server packed up our remaining dishes, and when I, again, became trapped in the Los Angeles traffic, I started to wonder if she packed napkins and a fork in there too. Nope. Oh well, guess I can save it for later.

Shamshiri Grill
1712 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 474-1410

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