When everyone knows you love good food, sometimes you get wind of a new find. Tucked away off Forest Hill Avenue, the Mediterranean Brick Oven serves some of the best Arabic food in the region. It also has wonderful pizza, quiet tables and warm, friendly service. And because no alcohol is served, it is a great place to take the kids.
On our first visit, my girlfriend of Palestinian descent declared the kibbeh better than her mother's. I always thought that I didn't like falafel, but I found out I had never had good falafel. Made from scratch, these warm, grape-sized pearls flecked with herbs were worth the drive. The chicken kabob was moist, with whispers of oregano, garlic and lemon. The lamb kabob was crispy, moist and very delicious. Besides lamb, the skewer contained eggplant, green pepper, zucchini and onion, all grilled perfectly. The tangy yogurt sauce that came with the kabob was full of dill, cucumber and garlic. We ordered several side dishes and not one of them was a disappointment. Owned by Mahmoud and Pagreed Jubran, with Mahmoud's brother, Kal, serving as chef, the restaurant makes everything from scratch.
One of the great features about Middle Eastern food is that it is very vegetarian friendly. Hummus, tabbouleh, falafel and pizza toppings chosen correctly can bring smiles to all faces in your party. They also serve no pork, so that means beef pepperoni or sausage on the pizza.
Speaking of the pizza, the wood-fired oven catches your eye as you enter. Our request for the pizza to be baked "well done" resulted in a crust that was crisp without being crackery, with golden edges. From the first bite, it was clear that this was real cheese, without any rubbery texture. We combined mushrooms, sausage, spinach and feta. Let's just say that the household discussion about who got the leftovers was energetic.
2557 Sheila Lane, 330-2911
Prices: Most menu items are less than $10.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday.