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!”
This was my first time at a Japanese steak house. I had one of the combos our pal Heather recommended (filet and scallops, I think). I liked all the extra grilled stuff (fried rice, grilled vegetables, etc.) that came with the meal along the way. But I am sure glad that she treated us that night (thanks again Heather!); I am sure those prices would have kept me away otherwise. It was definitely cool to watch our meal being cooked right in front of us, and it tasted great too, but I’d just as soon not watch the preparation and pay a smaller price.
Again, good food and interesting to watch, but if you have to pay for it yourself, probably not worth it in my opinion.
This in no way detracts from my gratitude toward Heather for taking us out and (finally) giving us a chance to shoot the breeze with her!