*and that’s not a bad thing!
Yesterday I had shawarma on the mind and I stuffed myself to the brim with something like 6 styles of the goods!
With a takeaway chicken wrap from Beirut for lunch (not the best idea considering I had plans for a specific shawarma tasting bonanza later that night?) I was fully ready for the Iranian feast of the evening to come. Casandra, Rachel, and I joined a few enjoyable people including the owner of the new establishment, Nami, and the lovely GM, Gwen, of Kaviar restaurant and the Grab & Go shawarma restaurant next Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on Street 57. Over chilled beers and chatter we dined on some of the best wraps and sandwiches I’ve had of the shawarma family.
Each option (beef, chicken, vegetarian) was either swathed in a light but hearty wrap, nestled between slices of a perfectly chewy bagel, or resting inside a crusty and delicious baguette (various options of classic, whole wheat, seed, and jalapeno) accompanied by a delightful array of sauces. As Rachel so perfectly said while drizzling a peppery, gravy-like sauce over her chicken baguette, “There’s something so great about having a ton of condiments. Condiments make a meal for me!” And they sure did. Ranging from a thick, rich garlic spread which I used a heavy hand to apply that I’m still tasting today to a sweet but spicy chili sauce to a light yet creamy hummus they were excellent accouterments to add a bit of extra flavor to each sandwich. That and a heaping bowl of jalapenos! At around $4 a pop I’d call that a delicious bargain and with the option for a lunch set (beer or soft drink) at $6 you can pop as many of those jalapenos in there as you want without getting too much extra heat!
To finish the meal, we were treated to a spread of desserts. Not being a chocolate or dessert lover in general, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the last part of the meal almost just as much as the main. (Almost- nothing compares to jalapenos, bagels, and beef.) The blackberry sauce gave each chocolate morsel a bit of tartness and nothing was overly sweet: the ideal blend. While I couldn’t get through an entire cheesecake, brownie, or opera cake myself I am sure those out there with a sweet tooth would appreciate.
While Kaviar has yet to open and is slated to introduce itself to the public at the beginning of August, I have a feeling it’s going to be one of the new “it” spots. With it’s high ceilings, minimalist and modern architecture with Mediterranean touches, generous space, and interesting layout it has promise to be a great new eatery and lounge in town. Even though shawarma will be available on the menu at Kaviar, the main offerings will boast heavier Iranian options and sharing friendly portions. With gorgeous sprawling French colonial apartments that have been revamped into modern living spaces being integrated right next door, tenants will be steps away from an Iranian dining experience to remember. They should just keep in mind not to be too generous with the garlic spread if they’re off to a meeting!