Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review of Fadi's Mediterranean Grill on Beechnut

   One of the things that I love about Houston is that it is so multicultural.  You can find great cuisine from all over the world in Houston.  And not only can you find it, but chances are that it will be good.  My wife and I dined at what is turning into one of our favorite Mediterranean places, Fadi's Mediterranean Grill

    Fadi's is set up cafeteria style where you can go down the line and pick out your food.  One of my favorite things about Fadi's (besides the food) is the fact that they allow half orders.  This gives patrons a chance to not eat as much food if they are not as hungry or, and more importantly to me, it gives people a chance to try multiple things without breaking the bank. Oh, and you will want to take advantage of that because Fadi's is not short on choices.  I commonly get half orders of stuff just so I can try them out.

   For tonight's meal my wife and I both went with our standard entree, the lamb shank.  She also had some tabouli, a half order of roasted garlic and mushroom hummus and a side of dolmas.  To accompany my lamb I had a half order of the same hummus, a half order of a yogurt, dill, and walnut dip, and a full order of the grilled vegetables.  I also had an order of varied "pickles".  We both also got pita bread.

   My original plan was to start with the "weaker" dishes and move on to the stronger ones, but the truth is there weren't any really bad dishes here.  So, I guess I will start with some of the shared stuff and move onto the entree.  The dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, were delicious.  They were stuffed with rice and had a nice tangy bite as from lemon.  All this was underscored with a pleasant mint flavor.  The dolmas were also nicely constructed.  They held up to being bitten into or even dipped.

  The yogurt dip was exquisite.  It was rich, thick and creamy.  It had the consistency of a nice cream cheese dip.  The flavor was quite good, highlighting the yogurt, while still  showcasing the walnuts and dill.  Speaking of which, the dip had some nice walnut pieces mixed in.  What I liked best about the dip is that it played well with others, whether that be mixing it with the lamb or intermingling with the hummus. 

   That leads me to the hummus.  Fadi's really knows how to make hummus. I would even venture to say that this is one of the best things about Fadi's.  There is always at least two or three types of hummus to choose from.  This iteration is one that I won't soon forget.  The hummus itself was full bodied and lush, almost feathery.  It was thick, but not too viscous.  The flavor of the chickpeas and tahin never overpowered the roasted garlic and mushrooms.  In fact, it was as if the hummus was just the vehicle for the other flavors, giving it a much more robust flavor profile.

   The grilled vegetables I had were quite nice.  First of all, they were served as a cold dish, not hot.  This was a delightful surprise.  The vegetables were thickly cut so they really held up to the grill.  They were soft, but nut mushy.  Truth is that they still had just the right amount of bite to them.  If I had any issues with them it was just that they could have used a little seasoning.

   The tabouli my wife ordered was also marvelous. It was parsley heavy giving it a nice fresh feel and taste.  Now, some might not like their tabouli to be proportioned like that.  For her, it was just right.  The tabouli was quite zesty, having been flavored with a great deal of lemon juice and spices.  It was a cooling side dish for a hot summer evening.

  For those of you who might now know, happiness is fresh, warm pita straight out of the oven.  And that is exactly how Fadi's serves them.  They have a working oven right where you can see it and they are cranking out fresh hot pita.  The pita works well with your dips or to make makeshift wraps at your table.  One of my preferred things to do is to dab some hummus and yogurt dip on the pita and wrap it all around some tasty lamb.

   Now we reach the pièce de résistance: the lamb shank.  If you love lamb, then you need to eat at Fadi's.  This is one of the best places to eat lamb that I have found in Houston.  If you know of a better place, PLEASE TELL ME!!  Now, why is this lamb shank so good?  To start, the meat is so tender.  More than fork tender.  Melt in your mouth tender.  You can just practically look at it and it falls off the bone.  It has been so masterfully cooked that even the connective tissue is appetizing forming a slightly gelatinous morsel bursting with flavor.  The meat itself is quite flavorful.  You can tell the meat has been cooked for a long time very slowly allow the meat to absorb the flavors.  The liquid is then used to make the sauce for the lamb combing tomato, lamb, and other savory elements.  If I have anything bad to say about the lamb, it is only a very minor point of contention.  The accompanying vegetables were a little bland.  But the truth of the matter is that you don't really get the lamb shank for the vegetables.

   Fadi's is a place where you get a wide variety of choices.  You get to decide how much and which food you want.  So next time you are looking for a place to eat, whether it be by yourself, with another person, or a large group, give Fadi's some consideration.
Fadi's Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

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