For a Valentine’s Day date, Scott and I went to La Marsa in Ann Arbor – and WOW, was it good! Feeling celebratory – and a bit ambitious – we got the “Sampler Platter for Two.” Here’s the breakdown:
- Fresh baked pita with garlic butter – divine! The store used to be a Cosi, and they bake, or at least warm, the pitas in the open hearth oven. Endless baskets are served with butter whipped with fresh crushed garlic. Ho. Lee. Cow.
- Tabbouli – low on bulgar, heavy on parsley, with a nice dressing. Not my favorite Middle Eastern dish, but well-done
- Hummus – very good, and not too acidic (a common flaw with a lot of restaurant hummus)
- Baba ghannoj – perhaps the best I’ve ever had! Has a distinct grilled or roasted flavor – I wonder if they roast the eggplants in the big hearth oven?
- Falafel – very good, crisp on the outside, with no uncooked bits inside
- Grape leaves, both lamb and vegetarian – the veggie ones are very good; the lamb ones are absolutely luscious. Hearty, rich, and flavorful, and the leaves themselves are not too sour. Often the acidity of the pickled grape leaves overwhelms the other flavors of the dish, but these were just right.
- Fattoush salad – lovely and well-seasoned with herbs, and not over-dressed
- Grilled vegetables – good, though not the best I’ve had here. At other times, the vegetables have been cooked rather dry and at high heat until they were a little blackened around the edges – add a pat of the garlic butter, and you’d be happy eating just these. Tuesday’s were a little less stunning, but they were still quite tasty, and showed La Marsa’s deft hand with spices.
- And we finally get to the entree, which was both chicken and lamb shwarma, shish tawook (skewered chicken), and shish kafta (skewered spiced lamb meatballs). It was all good; my favorites were the kafta and chicken shwarma; Scott loved the lamb shwarma and tawook.
<understatement>None of it was at all bad.</understatement>
There was also just a ton of food. It should have said “for six” – because after eating until we were stuffed, we took home (no kidding) three and a half POUNDS of leftovers. I had two lunches out of the salads, spreads, bread, and some of the meat, and tonight, we chopped up the grilled vegetables, meat, some extra cabbage, and some cooked rice and had a really tasty stir-fry. Which will probably also be my lunch again tomorrow. 🙂
So, very tasty, and highly recommended. And hey – does anyone know if Halal rules guide how the animals were raised, or just how they are slaughtered?