The minute I walked in the door at Suri’s Mediterranean they had me and I knew I’d be back, it was the scents of roasted meats, tahini, feta, lemon juice; the restaurant is immaculate.
Suri’s Mediterranean features Shawarma which is a Levantine traditional cuisine where meats are prepared on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants). When sliced the meat has crisped hard at the edges. Levantine cuisine is one of my favorites; the flavors make me think of fragrant herbs and delectable teas. The region has historically been more united but now is divided into Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Palestine. Shawarma can be grilled for as long as a day and meats used are traditionally lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, buffalo meat or a mix of meats. Meats are marinated or brushed with lemon juice and olive oil and infused with copious amounts of garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika and turmeric, plus often a whisper of cinnamon. Pieces are cut off, shavings, and used in a variety of ways and incorporated into a number of dishes. The day I was in Suri’s they featured chicken and beef Shawarma. I opted for the Loaded Fries (fries topped with chicken Shawarma, cheese and drizzled with tahini sauce) and they mean loaded the dish was filled with meat and tahini. My companion ordered the Chicken Shawarma Platter (rice, potatoes, salad, hummus, pita, tahini and garlic sauce). His platter was delicious and he also enjoyed the two falafels that he had ordered. He said they reminded him of the many Shawarma restaurants he enjoyed when he live in New York City. The next time I visit I’m going to order a Chicken or Beef Shawarma Wrap “to go” and enjoy it with, a sauce, Amba that I make at home, a traditional topping for Shawarma – it is a tangy mango pickle condiment. I don’t have enough space to talk about the hummus, but make sure you order it; it’s a traditional hummus with perfect flavor.
You absolutely must order the Homemade Persian Ice Cream. I have spent a great amount of time in the Middle East and this rich, delicious ice cream flavored with saffron and vanilla and loaded with chunks of plump pistachios was such an unexpected treat; I could have been sitting in Lebanon looking out on the Byblos Harbor. Suri’s Mediterranean, 80 Giroux Street, Reno 775-870-9616 (susrireno.com)
Congratulations to the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off winners; first place went to Rasta Joe’s BBQ Inc. from Plymouth, IN; one of my favorite participants for a number of years.
My friend, whom I often refer to as my companion in our restaurant wanderings, is a Yelp aficionado. Prior to a trip to any restaurant he will immediately go to Yelp. Coming from the Bay Area, Yelp is widely used but in so much a different format – it’s very factual and it seems the citizenry of the Bay Area is willing to give a 2nd and 3rd chance. In Northern Nevada it seems we want to run restaurants out of town when we have a bad experience. Yelp in Reno/Sparks has proved far less factual (as it is in the Bay Area) and much more snarky. Some of what people post is just down-right rude and I hope they are teaching their children better manners. Come on folks, its food. My favorite Yelp review in Reno was where the reviewers posted they ordered fish and chips, it was suppose to be served with two sauces, one was tarter and the other remoulade. The dish arrived and the reviewers ate the entire plate and later posted a photo of the empty plate on Yelp, the photo was to prove the restaurant brought two tarter sauces. They gave the restaurant one star because the restaurant put two ramekins of tarter on the plate and not the promised remoulade sauce. I actually called the restaurant when I saw this review and asked them if they remembered the diners, they did, and asked if they had let their server know about the sauce mix-up, they did not.
My question to all the foodie’s and Yelp reviewers out there is can we all just be a little kinder? Don’t attack a business owner with a bad review unless you have given them an opportunity to fix the situation (remember restaurants employ a great many people and when you attack them you also attack their staff). I get it, if the food is foul or the service is a like finger nails on a chalkboard you want to start posting, but instead put the phone or tablet down and ask to see the manger or shift supervisor. I eat out every day, I’m a freelance food writer, and I have had some awful meals and in each instance I talk to someone (no, I don’t tell them I’m a food writer)and can only remember three instances where the restaurant did not make good my bad meal. And, just a hint, don’t eat all the food and then complain.
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