Mesopotamia

The Joint
Mesopotamia Homus
Happily, nothing remains of the homus appetizer. So just take our word for it.

Restaurant Mesopotamia
Inhaber: Sinan Coskun

Fröhliche Türkenstraße 12
93047 Regensburg

Telefon: 0941 / 5839513
http://www.restaurant-mesopotamia.de/

Cliff

ZOMG! After the big let-down that was Exil about a year ago, we’d kind of given up hope on our once-awesome Kurdish food hookup in Regensburg. But while walking through the city on our way to Kaufland at the Arcaden on Friday, we spotted a new (to us) Middle-Eastern restaurant and walked closer. Sarah let out a shriek as she recognized echoes from our culinary past in the names of the main dishes and we both remarked that the font on the menu was like an old friend — yes, our old friend Exil.

SDC10317Practically holding our breath, we strolled in, sat down, and ordered a Homus appetizer. Imagine our delight when it turned out to be the reddish homus variety we’ve never seen anywhere else (not even Dearborn!). This was a really good sign. I ordered the Pir Kebab — my default Exil dish (back when Exil was good) to really give this new incarnation of our favorite restaurant a proper control group. Then, as now, it came with grilled seasoned lamb chunks on skewers, lightly-fried potatoes faintly spiced with paprika (or some other magic red stuff), the standard salad, zatziki, and the one true spinach/feta side dish (our attempt at recreation pales in comparison…gotta work on that some more now that the source material is available for reverse engineering purposes again). The result: as good as it ever was.

Sarah

It’s back, baby!
SDC10318
This was our JOINT, our fall-back, our favorite place to go and enjoy good food with friends. When Exil changed owners and overhauled the menu, they didn’t start serving bad food, they started serving indifferent food, which might be even worse. So imagine our delight, after going without for over a year and a half, at walking into Mesopotamia and recognizing the cook! The plates were the same, the way food was arranged was the same, the bread was the same and (most important!) the flavor was the same. Cliff had his old standby and I had mine – the Beritan (formerly Aras): thinly-pounded chicken breasts, marinated and grilled, turkey rolls stuffed with the divine spinach and walnuts with a white-wine/turmeric sauce, salad, potatoes, tzaziki and bulgur. It was everything I remembered! Incredibly flavorful and delicious.

When it was time to settle up, the waitress asked if we lived in Regensburg, we replied that, yes, we did and we used to go to the old place all the time. She delightedly told us that her father was the chef and he recognized us, as she set down complimentary shots of ouzo. She also filled us in that the first Saturday of every month is a buffet night with entertainment. We will be going back. And we will probably ask you to join us.

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Grapeleaves

The Joint

2850 W Maple Rd.
Troy, MI 48084-7001
Phone: +1 248 816 2000

We took Carolyn and Max here on advice from an Iranian colleague of mine in Regensburg (she’s from Troy). She said it would blow La Shish outta the water. I have to disagree. It was good, but it couldn’t topple La Shish down off of the pedestal upon which I have placed it.

We got the Falafel platter for starters and had high hopes after that — it was great. They weren’t shy about the garlic in the dipping sauce, and the pickled beets were a little more…I don’t know “real” looking and tasting than the typical “hi-liters” you get at La Shish. I liked ’em. The bread that came with the meal was good; there were chewy pitas and crispy…um, also pitas, I think, to choose from. I guess I would have preferred the still-warm freshly-baked rolls typical of La Shish, but these were still fine. Even better would have been a creamy garlic paste in which to dunk the bread, but no such luck.

Max (also a connoisseur of Middle Eastern fare) and I thought it fair and balanced to throw Grape Leaves a slow pitch for their first at-bat with us. We both ordered Shawarma with Hummous (he got the chicken, I got the lamb), so there could be an even basis for comparison with La Shish (my fave) and other Middle Eastern restaurants he’s familiar with. I can’t speak for his chicken (imagine though, if I could!), but I thought my lamb was a little on the dry side.

Judgement: pretty good, but La Shish (at least the one in Troy, whose ambience factors in) has got nothing to worry about. Grape Leaves is good (thanks for the recommendation, Mariam), but if I’m in Troy, I’ll go to La Shish next time.

I’m still looking for a contender; Carolyn says she and Max know places in Dearborn even better than La Shish. I say, “show me!”

Lokanta

The Joint

Haaggasse 15
93047 Regensburg

phone: +49 941 200 7151

Cliff

Trying it out tonight for the first time with Steve and Doreen — should be comparable to Exil (we’ll just see about that).

Sarah

If by ‘comparable’ to Exil, Cliff means ‘shares the exact same menu items with slightly different seasoning,’ then he was exactly right. It was ok, but if I want Kurdish cuisine, I’ll stay loyal and go to Exil.

Exil

The Joint

Weißgerbergraben 14
93047 Regensburg
Germany
Phone: +49 941 5 86 58 16

Cliff

I think this is my #1 absolute favorite restaurant in Regensburg. Since we live in Regensburg, that’s saying an awful lot. This place is worth it.

We originally came to Exil in April or May 2004 to looking for the kind of Middle Eastern food we could get from La Shish. La Shish tends toward the Lebanese cuisine, whereas Exil is definitely Kurdish. Strong, rich flavors in interesting combinations make it a trip to remember for eaters of lamb (yum!), poultry (chicken and turkey), and fish and vegetarians too. Whenever we go, I try to get something with a side of their spinach, whether I’m craving tender skewers of lamb or not.

I still haven’t found my La Shish replacement, but now I get Exil cravings as well. Oh, by the way, if you go often enough, the staff notices and you might get the occasional surprise espresso or coffee after the meal. At least, we do.

Sarah

Cliff and I are in agreement – this place is our hands-down favorite restaurant in Regensburg. We take all of our visitors here and, to a man (and woman), they’ve all given it the thumbs up. We’ve each tried several different dishes and have yet to be disappointed.

The offerings are mostly variations on theme. They all have several of the same components, but they’re all prepared to varying effect. All entrées are served with salad, tzatziki and bulgur as accompaniments to the main event. I’ve tried to recreate the heavenly spinach and ended up with underwhelming results. Now that it’s summer and fresh veggies are abundant and inexpensive, it’s time to try again.

The atmosphere is relaxed and hip. Every month, there’s new art on the walls available for purchase by patrons. The music is usually interesting, often R&B, soul or unusual remakes of old favorites. And the service is outstanding.

And, yes, I would have said that without the free coffee drinks. But they sure don’t hurt!

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La Shish

The Joint

22039 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, Michigan 48124

http://www.lashish.com/

Cliff

La Shish, oh how I miss my La Shish. Most people are probably familiar with La Shish thanks to Dearborn (in fact, that’s how I first tried it), but my favorite La Shish has always been the one in Troy. For some reason, it’ just a nicer atmosphere – smaller and quieter and much more brightly lit.

I often think about how darn good the little things at La Shish are. For instance, I’ve never quite had a salad dressing like the one on the standard house salad at La Shish. It’s light and zesty at the same time.

Another Cliff-pleaser: “mediterranean salsa” as an appetizer. Don’t eat too much though – it’s easy to fill up on that and the other starters (hummous with “highlighters” and their freshly-baked bread). Save room for a nice traditional arayis (get rice on the side instead of potatoes), or a fancier shawarma or ghallaba dish. You’ll need it, trust me.

Sarah

After moving to Detroit, this was my first experience with Middle Eastern cuisine. Now I’m hooked. La Shish helped me develop a taste for lamb, couscous, hummus, turmeric and nutmeg and cinnamon and cloves and any number of exotic flavors. I usually got the traditional Arayis (thin, delicate pita filled with onion, ground lamb and pine nuts served with almond rice) or Ghallaba (rice and vegetable pilaf (sometimes with chicken or lamb) with lots of seasonings). Just wonderful! Cliff’s loyalty is well-placed.