Sunday, June 6, 2010
Molly gives her view of Zabak's Mediterranean Cafe...through the eyes of a vegetarian.
Overall Vegetarian Selection: (4) Stars
Brief Take: (Did the restaurant have a good selection?)
Mediterranean is my favorite cuisine and there is no coincidence that Mediterranean restaurants have a lot of vegetarian items to choose from on their menu. Besides the gyros and shawarmas, Zabak’s had several meat free meal options to choose from. I really liked this place so I am eager to go back and try something new on the menu like their vegetarian plate which consists of options for falafel, spinach pie, hummus, baba ghanouj, tabouli salad, cucumber and tomato salad and pita bread.
Ordered Dish: (4) Stars
Brief Take: (What did you get and how was it?)
For my appetizer I ordered hummus (Ordering hummus at a Mediterranean restaurant is a must. It’s kind of like ordering queso at a Mexican restaurant.) and a spinach pie. The hummus was served with a generous portion of oils and spices. Perfectly creamy with a mild nutty flavor, this hummus is a keeper. The pita served with the hummus was good but not my preferred style. Brought out warm in a bread basket, the pita was thin and coarse; I like mine fluffy and a little thicker. Don’t get me wrong, Zabak’s pita was not bad – it was not stale or poorly cooked but just not my style. The spinach pie disappeared off my plate in under a minute so yes you can safely assume I thought it was delicious. About the size of the palm of my hand, the spinach pie was served warm and enclosed in a pastry shell. Inside the shell the spinach was cooked with a tangy vinegar type dressing.
My entrée consisted of one of my favorite meals ever - a falafel sandwich. Served in the same pita bread as the hummus, the falafel patty it’s self was the best I have ever eaten anywhere. (And since falafel is one of my favorite foods, I’ve tried a lot.) I read before visiting that Zabak’s had the best falafel in town so I was excited to try it out myself. Instead of tiny oval balls like how I’ve mostly seen falafel, the falafel in Zabak’s sandwich was a thin patty the size of the pita it was tucked in. The patty was cooked perfectly with chickpeas, loads of parsley and many other vibrant spices. Topping the falafel sandwich off were lettuce, tomato and a hot sauce. The hot sauce was a good element at first but then it began to overpower the sandwich. Maybe next time I will ask for it on the side. I took off one star because of the pita and the hot sauce on the sandwich.
Healthy Rating: (5) Stars
Brief Take: (Was it still healthy even though it was vegetarian?)
Eating healthy vegetarian food at Mediterranean restaurants is always easy. Most of the time, the food is not only vegetarian but vegan as well – even healthier. The hummus and falafel patty were made of chickpeas. Chickpeas are very nutritional. They are low fat and very high in protein, iron and fiber. The spinach in the spinach pie had lots of vitamin a, vitamin c, calcium and iron.
Overall Opinion: (5) Stars
Summary: Quick review of the overall experience…what was restaurant like, service, etc)
Zabak’s Mediterranean Cafe is a small, no frills, counter service, family owned and operated restaurant ….and when I say family operated, I mean the sister, Sandra Zabak is at the counter taking your order and her two brother’s Peter and Donald Zabak can be seen behind the counter in the kitchen cooking your meal. After your meal is cooked one of the brothers happily brings it to your table.
Zabak’s is one of the nicest, friendliest restaurants I have ever visited. It is evident the three siblings really care about their eatery and patrons. The customer service is impeccable and the Zabak’s are very warm and welcoming. While eating my meal, a few different regulars came into to dine, and Sandra happily greeted them by name before they even had two feet inside. Wow – you just don’t get that very often these days.