Friday, December 25, 2009
Mediterranean Kitchen - Kirkland, WA
Growing up in Saudi Arabia our favorite street food was schwarmas. Back in the 70's they would sell from street carts and the lamb would be rotating on giant rotisseries. They would take Arab bread and put in it shredded lettuce, tomato, the sliced meat, a garlicy tzatziki like sauce, and mint leaves. All ARAMCONS grew up with this schwarma memory.
Sad to say, it is VERY difficult to find schwarmas like this any more - even in Arabia. My dad went back to visit last March and he said he couldn't find a lamb one anywhere, they were all being done with chicken. Here in the U.S. it is equally difficult. If you do find schwarma places, they usually use beef. Many will offer lamb as a kebab version. Basically they are cubing and kebabing the lamb instead of shaving it off a rotisserie like we grew up with.
I'm visiting my brother up in the Seattle area and for Christmas Eve we have gone to Mediterranean Kitchen in Kirkland. Apparently there is a full blown restaurant in Bellevue and this is an offshoot diner style. My brother's one warning - they use a lot of garlic.
OK. So my bro is a garlic wimp. My dad and I thought it was great. The best thing, this truly was the closest schwarma to our childhood memories. My only complaint, it could use a more generous serving of meat in the sandwich. (See any in the pic?) I really did feel like I was eating the sandwich of my past. Kudos.
My brother LOVES their baklava as well. It was pretty tasty. The nuts had been ground to a paste for the filling layer. The pastry was nice and flaky without being overly soaked in honey syrup.
Something that attracted my eye on the menu was the Mediterranean fries - french fries covered in feta cheese, garlic, and sumac - and ketchup. I love garlic fries and I like feta too, so it seemed like a good combo to me. It wasn't bad, but not something I would order again. I think in this case I would have liked more garlic and less feta. But it was nice that the feta was nice and melty.
My brother says that if you go to the actual mother restaurant you will smell the garlic as soon as you open the door. Not so bad for me. The more, the better. I'd be happy to have a Med Kitchen in Sacramento to get the lamb schwarmas and I know my fellow schoolmates would be thrilled as well.