By: Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
When Mike pulled Le Kabob out of the hat, I was happier than a freed canary. I love Mediterranean food. Tabouli, hommous, shawarmas…bring it on!
That enthusiasm probably showed on the way over. “Should I start looking?” “No, we have three miles.” “Should I start looking?” “We have about a mile.”
Located in a strip mall near the corner of 28th Street and Shaffer Avenue, we finally got there and the place was humming with activity. Upon entering, the aromas immediately made me smile — these are the smells I know from Dearborn when visiting the restaurants there.
Le Kabob has only been at its current location for about two years — before that it was located on Alpine — but the owner has made it feel like home with some Mediterranean touches.
We were seated at a booth and Mike immediately spotted the $6.99 lunch special that included a soda, any sandwich and soup or salad. Our server informed us the salad was a traditional side salad but for a dollar more you could select any of the other salads such as tabouli, fattoush, or Greek. I was sold and went for the fattoush salad paired with the falafel, hommous, tabouli wrap cause a girl has got to have her falafel! For those who do not know, a falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. I prefer my falafel with a little hommous, so this wrap was screaming my name.
Expecting half portions, I was surprised that the salad was full size. What really makes a fattoush salad is the cumin and baked pita bread and Le Kabob’s had a nice mixture of both along with lettuce, onion, tomato, and cucumber. I was loving it. In fact, I was loving it long after Mike had finished his soup and moved on to his first shawarma wrap. Finally moving on to my sandwich, I was delighted to find the bread was slightly toasted with the wrap getting a thumbs up for freshness and uniqueness.
One of the servers thanked us for being patient as they were short-staffed that day. I actually thought for the good-size lunch crowd they had the staff did pretty well on serving everyone and handling take-outs. There was a wait for us to be seated, but the food certainly made it well worth it.
By: Mike DeWitt
We’re only three weeks into Going Local, but it has already been a massive success in my opinion. Granted, that opinion is based solely on my own selfish joy of eating lunch at local havens and being able to call it “work”.
Seriously though, I had absolutely no idea the quality of food that exists right in our backyard. Sure, everyone talks about Grand Rapids being beer capital and the food that comes with it, but Kentwood and Wyoming has knocked it out of the park three weeks in a row. The best part is that all of our lunches have been very reasonably priced. So much so that I might even call it generously priced, and Le Kabob was no exception.
I’ll admit, I was never big on Mediterranean food until my girlfriend brought me to a place in Detroit last year for some chicken shawarmas. It’s not that I didn’t like Mediterranean food, more that I had never really given it a chance, and I quickly realized what I had been missing. I had a new love, her name was Mediterranean and I can’t thank my girlfriend enough for introducing us.
When we walked into Le Kabob, I was caught off guard by the size of the restaurant. The last two places we had been to were small and we were the only people there for lunch. Le Kabob was not only much bigger, but it was packed with people there for lunch. Apparently we weren’t the only ones Going Local. We had a slight wait before we were seated and the $6.99 lunch special immediately caught my eye. The picture of the shawarma looked small, so I decided I needed to order two, a chicken and a lamb, on top of my lamb chili. I did not need to order a second one. I repeat, I did NOT need to order a second one.
Fresh toasted flatbread was brought out to the table as a starter along with a crush garlic paste to spread. The paste was 98 percent garlic and had some other spices and jalapenos thrown in for good measure. It was crushed up to spread like butter across the bread. It was phenomenal and a second basket of bread was quickly brought to the table after the first was engulfed almost immediately.
The lamb chili was good, not exceptional, but it had a little bit of heat and was a great size as a precursor to my two shawarmas. When the shawarmas were set down in front of me, I knew my eyes were bigger than my stomach. However, in my defense, they didn’t look THAT BIG in the picture on the menu. That is my excuse and I will stick with it. But I ordered my meal and I needed to finish the whole thing… my job depends on it.
Both shawarmas were exceptional. The meat was tender and the pita was baked with the right amount of crisp. The lamb shawarma comes rolled with onions, tomatoes, pickles, parsley and tahini sauce. It went down smoothly as the chicken starred me right in the face. The chicken shawarma is rolled with pickles, lettuce, and garlic sauce – I think I hit my yearly garlic intake during the meal. The second shawarma was just as good, but my stomach said no more! Fortunately, I was able to take half the sandwich home in a box and have it for another Going Local lunch the next day.
If you even remotely like Mediterranean food, you need to stop in to Le Kabob. The food is prepared daily and the lunch special is very fairly priced. The entrees are a little more expensive ($11.99 – $26.99), but I would imagine they’re every bit as tasty as the lunch.
Le Kabob is located at 3122 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512. Their phone number is 616-272-4135.