Mediterranean

418. Fattoush Lebanese Grill – July 19, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

July2019Fattoush1 (3)July2019Fattoush2 (3)July2019Fattoush3 (2)Two reasons to get excited about Fattoush Lebanese Grill of Clinton Township: 1) its FANTASTIC Mediterranean cuisine and 2) DEEP-FRIED OREOS!!!

I don’t think Lebanese restaurant when I think purveyor of deep-fried Oreos, but Fattoush has got ’em, and let me tell you, they are an EXQUISITE with their fried, cakey outer coating, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-and-cream center, ample drizzles of chocolate, caramel, and strawberry sauces, and whipped cream, strawberry, and powdered-sugar garnishes.

I didn’t know about the deep-fried Oreos before visiting Fattoush – or need them to bring me in the door (though I’m certainly thrilled to have encountered them). Mediterranean food is my JAM! I love discovering another Mediterranean restaurant in the Metro-D to add to my mental rolodex. So when a friend suggested meeting for dinner at Fattoush on a Friday night in mid-July, I was game.

One reason my friend knew about and liked Fattoush was because it has a noteworthy vegan menu. The restaurant has meatless takes on traditional Lebanese dishes (chicken and beef shawarma wraps made with Beyond meat) and other popular fare (a burger, nachos, and quesadilla made with animal-free protein). She enjoyed the vegan chicken shawarma wrap with its hefty pieces of plant-based chicken, juicy pickles, and zesty garlic sauce.

The main portion of Fattoush’s menu is extensive, showcasing classic Lebanese favorites such as grape leaves, hummus, and kibbee, tabouli salad and crushed lentil soup, kabobs and ghallaba. The dessert section boasts decadent fare in addition to those deep-friend Oreos: fried cheesecake, baklava, and a molten chocolate cake, for instance. Fresh juice and fruit smoothies are also served.

I’m fairly obsessed with fattoush salads at this stage in my life (they’ve got everything you need: zing and crunch and deep-fried pita!), so it was a no-brainer for me to order a large one with grilled chicken as my entrée during this visit. And Fattoush’s iteration of its namesake dish was excellent with its ample portion of tender, perfectly-seasoned grilled chicken, crispy pita pieces, zesty dressing, and fresh mix of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion. (Man, I’m so dearly craving that salad now!)

As a former server, there’s no way I could end this post on Fattoush without giving a shout-out to the wonderful waitress who took care of me and my friend there. She was prompt and friendly and incredibly welcoming.

This visit to Fattoush Lebanese Grill confirmed for me that the restaurant is not only for Mediterranean-food enthusiasts, it’s for food enthusiasts in general. With its ample vegan options, top-notch Lebanese cuisine, and ultra-luxe desserts (Deep-Fried Oreos 4L!!!), Fattoush offers something for everyone.

41170 Hayes Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.fattoushgrill.com

362. Shawarma Stop – September 25, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

September2018ShawarmaStop1 (3)September2018ShawarmaStop3 (3)Shawarma Stop = a WIN! I’ve got all good feels about this Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant in Sterling Heights.

During my visit Tuesday night, the restaurant’s dining area was clean and welcoming, the staff on duty were warm and polite, and the food was delivered quickly and downright DELICIOUS.

I admittedly glanced over Shawarma Stop’s menu that night more than perused it, because I knew what I wanted for my dinner: a chicken shawarma pita wrap and a small fattoush salad. I’m stuck on those two when it comes to Mediterranean food (as I am crushed lentil soup, and lemon-oregano chicken, and hummus, and of course garlic sauce . . .), especially the fattoush salad. Man, is that a good salad!

But some fattoush salads are better than others – and Shawarma Stop’s is one of the best I’ve had. The lettuce, cucumber, and tomato in it were fresh, the dressing was perfectly zesty, and most critically: the pita chip pieces were fried extra crispy so they stayed crunchy when tossed in the dressing, which made my heart VERY happy (soggy pita chips make for a sad fattoush-eating experience, indeed). AND the small version of the salad was much bigger than I expected; it’s an amply-sized side salad! That made my heart even more happy.

The chicken shawarma with its tender grilled chicken, tangy pickles, juicy tomatoes, and wonderfully bold garlic sauce was tasty, too. It was also large enough that I was able to take half of it home to enjoy as leftovers.

Now that I’ve examined Shawarma Stop’s menu more closely, I feel I MUST go back and try the build-your-own-pita-or-bowl option where you get to choose from a variety of choices the protein, sauce, and four toppings you’d like in your meal. I love the build-your-own concept, and I’m already envisioning a beef shawarma bowl with hummus, white rice, feta, onion, and banana peppers . . . Mmmm.

Other options on Shawarma Stop’s menu include an assortment of salads, appetizers, sides, and pitas, plus grill items such as shish kabob, lamb chops, and a whole deboned chicken. Combination platters designed to serve two, four, seven, or 12 people are also available.

Whether you’re looking to grab carryout or have a quick and pleasant dine-in experience, Shawarma Stop is so worth the trip. I’m already craving another of its fattoush salads and pondering a revisit!

13903 19 Mile Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48313

www.shawarmastoponline.com

352. Elie’s – August 1, 2018 – Birmingham, MI

August2018Elies4 (2)August2018Elies2 (2)August2018Elies3 (2)Tender steak, toasted pinenuts, and sautéed onions nestled on a bed of hummus? Fattoush salad with crisp vegetables, crunchy pita chips, and zesty dressing? Yes, yes, and YES, please!

These are the dishes I enjoyed at Elie’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Birmingham, whilst lunching on its lovely patio earlier this month.

While Elie’s lunch menu is loaded with delectable-sounding choices that I’d love to explore further (ranging from Lamb Shawarma to Shish Tawook to Homemade Chicken Pot Pie), the hummus with tenderloin was a no-brainer for me.

I mean, creamy hummus and red meat combined – how could that not equal GLORIOUS? And it was glorious, especially when scooped up with soft, piping-hot pita bread.

The Fattoush salad was equally fresh and flavorful and delicious. I got the large-sized salad, which was substantial and more than I needed; I easily filled up on half of it.

The restaurant’s pretty patio was an ideal place to dine; the location along Pierce Street makes it a prime spot for people-watching. As the sands in the hourglass are running out on our patio days here in Metro Detroit, I find myself especially appreciating any opportunity to dine alfresco.

All in all, my experience at Elie’s was a pleasant one – one that I would definitely say YES to again.

263 Pierce St.

Birmingham, MI 48009

www.eliesgrill.com

343. The Pita Peddler – June 27, 2018 – Chesterfield, MI

June2018PitaPeddler1 (2)Visiting a friend’s new home one evening in late June also meant new-place-time for the blog (YES!), as I stopped en route for carryout at The Pita Peddler, a Mediterranean restaurant in Chesterfield.

The Pita Peddler has dine-in seating, but it was all about carryout orders the Wednesday evening I was there. Carryout business was KICKING on that night! I sat and waited for our order at the counter of the sleek, fully-stocked bar, which according to my friend is a more recent addition.

After perusing The Pita Peddler’s extensive menu loaded with traditional Mediterranean appetizers and entrees as well as a variety of non-Mediterranean salads, pita melts, and pita wraps,  I’d opted for a Fattoush side salad and Chicken Shawarma pita wrap.

The Fattoush salad was amazing, fresh and zesty and festooned with those crunchy fried pita chips that I love. Topped with grilled chicken, it would be a meal in itself. The hefty Chicken Shawarma wrap contained several ingredients in addition to the grilled chicken, pickles, and garlic sauce I’m used to: lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled banana peppers.

The banana peppers surprised me! But really, they are in the same vein as pickles with their sour vinegar pop of flavor, so why not?

I perused recipes online while writing this post to see if banana peppers in chicken shawarma dishes is a more widely embraced thing beyond The Pita Peddler’s kitchen, and apparently it is. At any rate, it’s a new concept to me. So thanks, The Pita Peddler, for expanding my horizons!

46610 N. Gratiot Ave.

Chesterfield, MI 48051

www.thepitapeddler.com

333. Alie’s Lebanese Grill – June 3, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

June2018Alies1 (2)June2018Alies6 (2)June2018Alies5 (2)

You know those heady first days after you discover your latest crush? Well, I’ve been in that giddy state of adoration ever since visiting Alie’s Lebanese Grill of Sterling Heights and discovering how fabulous it is.

Alie’s Lebanese Grill, I like you just as you are! (Cue throwback-reference to Bridget Jones’s Diary, that O.G. of rom-coms with its signature line that Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy bestows upon the titular character. ~SWOON~) Your attractive ambiance, top-notch cuisine, and superior service made you easy to fall for!

A tangential tidbit about Alie’s: it used to be called Ollie’s and was affiliated with two other restaurant locations of the same name, one in Dearborn and one in Dearborn Heights (I visited the Dearborn Ollie’s location for this blog in 2015). A few years ago, the Sterling Heights restaurant broke away from the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights locations to become its own entity and was renamed Alie’s.

It’s an impressive entity. Glossy and well-kept, with an ivy-covered exterior, ornate chandeliers, and beautiful stonework, Alie’s is an aesthetically pleasing setting.

Its menu is extensive, loaded with fresh juices, appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and a plethora of entrees both of the meat-centric and vegetarian varieties – plus a Family Feast Combos section where groups can choose from various smorgasbord selections of classic Lebanese dishes.

Perusing this well-curated menu, I zeroed in on my Mediterranean staple, Chicken Lemon Oregano, which I can never seem to pass up because I love it so. The entrée came with the option of a side soup or salad. I ordered the Fattoush Salad, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

This salad had me raving; it was the best Fattoush Salad I’ve ever had. Its ingredients were so obviously fresh: the romaine lettuce and cucumbers were crisp, the tomatoes well-ripened, the pita chips perfectly crunchy, the dressing zesty.

This side salad was so filling, it could have easily been my meal – especially considering that it was accompanied by complimentary fresh-baked pita rounds and garlic sauce (which quite possibly constitute the premier carb-and-dip combo in this galaxy – YUMMM times infinity to that garlic-loaded sauce!).

But more deliciousness was to come: that Chicken Lemon Oregano dish, a tender, juicy, char-broiled chicken breast accompanied by a rich, garlicky, oregano-infused lemon sauce and an ample platter of rice. It was wonderfully flavorful. And it was filling; the chicken breast was huge and easily yielded leftovers.

It was a satisfying meal, delivered at a high level of service. Pleasant and courteous, the gentleman who was our server was a delight to deal with. Coupling this sterling service with the beauty of the building and the quality of the cuisine make the overall dining experience at Alie’s Lebanese Grill an enchanting one.

So, Alie’s, when can I see you next? Hopefully I can rendezvous with you again very soon, for another round of that delectable Fattoush salad and Chicken Lemon Oregano – and of course, mounds and mounds of pita rounds and garlic sauce!

33355 Van Dyke Ave.

Sterling Heights, MI 48312

www.alieslebanesegrill.com

326. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food – May 7, 2018 – Rochester Hills, MI

May20182941Med1 (2)May20182941Med4 (2)May20182941Med3 (2)2941 Mediterranean Street Food has hit 100 Places in the D!!!

I was super excited to visit 2941 Mediterranean Street Food of Rochester Hills for lunch with friends last week, as the fast-casual Detroit-area chain had been on my radar for a few years (as was the case with many of the places I’ve covered on this blog. Cheers to the moments when long-anticipated visits finally happen!).

I adore Mediterranean food, and as mentioned in my recent post on Burrito Mundo, I also love places that allow me to build my own meals, choosing from a plethora of ingredient options the ones I’d like to add to customizable bowls, burritos, etc. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food is one such place that allows you to build your own bowls, loading them with all kinds of fresh, flavorful goodies.

Stepping inside the bright and clean Rochester Hills storefront with its long communal tables and wicker-basket-accented lighting (check out the light shades that appear to be made from upside-down baskets with the handles still attached in the photo above), my friends and I approached the ordering counter toward the back of the room, where we began the assembly-line production of the build-your-own-bowl process.

In succession, I was asked to: pick my grain base (I chose the Turmeric Basmati Rice); my protein (I did pork; chicken, steak, lamb, falafel, and veggie options were also available); two sauces (garlic sauce was a given for me, and I chose another spicy sauce whose name I can’t recall); two types of torshi, which are pickled vegetables (I went with the Atum beet-and-turnip mixture and the Osiris cauliflower-and-mixed-veggie combo); and two items from the Salads and Snacks category (I nabbed hummus and a salad that included radish, chickpeas, and parsley).

This was an intense decision-making process, my friends. I felt – as I had the week prior at Burrito Mundo when I was shepherded through its burrito-making process – that my first bowl-building experience at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food was simply a dress rehearsal for the next time I was there. Before that subsequent visit, I’ll likely study the menu ahead of time and get all strategic about my choices, because these are important decisions to be made (lunch is on the line!) and because I am that much of a nerd when it comes to customizable meals.

Still, despite feeling unprepared for the intricacies of the meal-crafting process, I felt pleased with how my bowl turned out at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food. I had opted for the larger-sized bowl, which yielded enough food to constitute both my lunch and dinner for that day. It was accompanied by a sizable loaf of soft, irresistibly chewy samoon bread that was perfect for dipping in the hummus and garlic sauce.

While I was surprised at the cost of 2941’s build-your-own bowl (an $11.50 base price for the large-sized bowl, with additional upcharges for extra sauce, extra meat, etc.), the ample portions and pure deliciousness justified the higher-than-expected price in my mind. The pork was tender and well-marinated, the vegetables were fresh and flavorful, and the hummus and garlic sauce were pure, addictive, garlicky goodness (I am SO a hummus/garlic sauce girl!). High-quality ingredients melded together to make a wholly delectable bowl of Mediterranean goodness, and I was TOTALLY a fan.

While the build-your-own-bowl option appears to be the centerpiece of 2941 Mediterranean Street Food’s menu, there are also some signature-bowl configurations to choose from, as well as soups, flatbreads, and a load of what are labeled Street Snacks on the menu (Marinated Olives, Habibi’s Nachos, and Veggie Grape Leaves, for example). Knowing me and my obsession with the whole build-your-own-bowl concept, I’ll probably stick with that option, but it’s nice to know there are predetermined choices on 2941’s menu should I be struck with decision-making paralysis during a visit.

How about you – have you been to 2941 Mediterranean Street Food? If yes, I’d love to hear what you thought of it; feel free to weigh in within the Comments field below!

87 W. Auburn Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48307

(With additional locations in Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, and Detroit)

www.2941streetfood.com

320. La Mia Lebanese Cuisine – April 18, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

April2018LaMia1 (2)April2018LaMia2 (3)Shout-out to my friend Jac for introducing me to this gem of a restaurant, La Mia Lebanese Cuisine in Clinton Township!

We went there Wednesday and ordered carryout. I thoroughly enjoyed my shawarma wrap with its grilled pita stuffed with tender chicken, crunchy pickles, and delectably garlicky sauce. The crushed lentil soup was piping-hot, savory deliciousness, as well.

While we didn’t eat in the restaurant, I appreciated the clean, pleasant dining area and friendly service we received. I was also impressed by how quickly our carryout orders came out – they were ready in about five minutes.

I’d not previously heard of La Mia, and I live relatively close to it. It’s on a part of Gratiot Avenue – just south of Hall Road/M-59 – that I don’t often traverse. I’m admittedly fascinated by such unfamiliar pockets, those sections of towns that I live relatively close to yet rarely pass through or visit. They’re one of the best types of places to explore, if you ask me, because they’re near familiar ground and yet feel novel. Ideally, they contain all kinds of intriguing new-to-us establishments just waiting for us to discover them and declare “NEW PLACE TIME!!!!!!!!!”

Whether or not you live in the general vicinity of La Mia and/or are familiar with the neighborhood it’s in, I invite you to check it out if you’re a fan of Mediterranean food and have not yet been there. It’s a goodie!

43998 N Gratiot Ave.
Clinton Township, MI 48036

309. Ike’s Restaurant – February 17, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

February2018Ikes1 (3)February2018Ikes2 (4)I’m always looking for an excuse to celebrate – especially in February, when there’s not inherently a lot to celebrate in Michigan (Another snowfall? The umpteenth gray day of the year? Not slipping and falling on an ice patch? Actually, that last one is totally worth celebrating).

So when the sister-in-law/best friend of one of my oldest pals reached out letting me know they were planning a surprise birthday party for her, I was like, “Heck yes, I will be there!” Heck yes to having this celebration as a bright spot to look forward to after wayyyyy too much snow-wrangling the weekend prior!

(Snow, we over you here in Metro-Detroit, for reals. Please be a dear and take the hint.)

When I found out this surprise birthday dinner was going to be at Ike’s Restaurant in Sterling Heights, a Mediterranean restaurant I had never been to, I was heck-yes-ing times a million. New-place time! GARLIC-SAUCE TIME!

Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorite types of cuisines, and garlic sauce is its pinnacle. I mean, what’s not to like: it’s creamy, it’s garlicky . . . that’s really it, but do you need anything else in a sauce? No sirree, in my humble opinion.

When the night rolled around and the whole surprise-thing was pulled off without a hitch (my friend was truly surprised – how often does that happen?), I realized that Ike’s menu contains more than Mediterranean food.

It contains a lot more: bar-and-grille-esque fare such as steaks and lamb chops and ribs and chicken and fish dishes; Italian favorites such as veal marsala and chicken parmesan; a whole section of vegetarian options – some Mediterranean, some Italian, some Greek.

The variety impressed me; the ribs and steak piqued my interest because both ribs and steak are kind of my jam. Ultimately, I knew I had to stick with the Lebanese section because visions of me inhaling Mediterranean food had basically haunted my psyche since I’d received this invitation.

I’m admittedly really boring when ordering Mediterranean food: I get crushed lentil soup and lemon-oregano chicken OR a chicken shawarma pita – accented by, of course, loads and loads of pita bread slathered in garlic sauce. I don’t believe my order has ever wavered from those choices – probably because those choices are so AMAZING that why would I bother to vary them? Still, this is a departure for me in a lot of ways, me of the loving-to-try-new-places-and-dishes-and-the-weirdest-sounding-cocktail-you-can-throw-at-me variety.

So when pondering Ike’s menu, my eyes went to laser in on the lemon-oregano chicken – and didn’t see it. It was not on Ike’s menu – wah wah.

Not to worry – I asked our server if the kitchen would be able to make the prized lemon-oregano chicken, and she said it would, though she claimed it probably wouldn’t taste as lemony as I was accustomed to. I didn’t mind; I was sure it’d still be good.

It was: my lemon-oregano chicken was glorious. Yes, it wasn’t as lemony as usual, but it was still wonderfully tender and flavorful and delicious – and generous in portion size.

That’s a definite plus about Ike’s: the amount of food it serves you. Portions are hefty – and who doesn’t like that? Additionally, both soup and salad came with my entrée (ol’-faithful crushed lentil was naturally my soup choice).

And the garlic sauce? Well, garlic sauce and pita bread isn’t a complimentary appetizer at Ike’s as it is at a lot of Mediterranean restaurants, but it’s available for order; our table ordered a platter of it to share. It goes without saying that it was GLORIOUS.

Given the high-quality food, generous portions sizes, elegant ambiance, and excellent service our table received, I can confidently vet Ike’s as an top-notch venue for celebrating any kind of occasion, from birthdays to I-didn’t-slip-on-ice-and-fall-flat-on-my-face kinds of days.

38550 Van Dyke Ave.

Sterling Heights, MI 48312

www.ikesrestaurant.com

276. Lyla’s Catering – September 16, 2017 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

Lyla's1Lyla's2Lyla's3 (2)On the jaunt from an Arts and Scraps donation run in Detroit to Saint Clair Shores, I decided lunch was in order and that this would be the perfect opportunity to visit Lyla’s Catering, a Lebanese catering and carry-out establishment I’d read about in Hour Detroit a few years ago. And with that Grosse Pointe Woods, a new-to-the-blog city, was represented!

Four of the five Grosse Pointe neighborhoods have now been repped on 100 Places in the D (Grosse Pointe Shores is left). But the most important thing about that day is that I got a scrumptious, flavorful, filling meal at Lyla’s.

I stepped into its sunny orange interior and ordered from the friendly owners the fatoush salad with grilled chicken, plus two spinach pies and two pieces of baklava. They were ready quickly, and I ate a portion of the huge fatoush salad while sitting at one of the two tables inside Lyla’s, savoring the freshness of the greens,  tomato chunks, cucumber slices, and crispy pita chips tossed in the garlic, lemon, and olive oil dressing and the slices of warm marinated chicken breast. What a perfect on-the-go meal: healthful and hearty and void of processed ingredients!

I had the rest of the salad for dinner that night, as well as one of the spinach pies and both pieces of the baklava. The triangular dough-encased mini pie with its vibrant spinach filling had this irresistible hint of nutmeg, and the baklava with its honey-drenched layers of phyllo dough was straight-up addictive.

Lyla’s has both its carry-out and catering menus on its website, so you can check out their offerings and order ahead should you decide to visit – which I highly recommend you do!

20083 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.lylascatering.com

254. Shish Palace – June 28, 2017 – Rochester Hills, MI

20170628_121657(1)20170628_124149 (2)It’s hard for me to conceive of the concept of bad Mediterranean food, because being insanely delectable is kind of its thing. But why gamble on deliciousness when you can get a sure thing at Shish Palace in Rochester Hills?

I got lunch there back in June: the lemon-oregano Shish Tawook, all rich, savory, citrusy goodness, plus a cup of crushed lentil soup. YUMMM. Our server was attentive and funny, and she kept the free bread and garlic sauce coming (the BEST part about eating in a Mediterranean restaurant EVER!).

165 S. Livernois Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48307

(Locations also in Taylor and Allen Park)

www.shishpalacerestaurant.com