There are several food wars going on in Louisville. Some of them friendly, some of them not so friendly. I remember walking into DeVino’s Deli on Market Street downtown when I first moved to Louisville to grab a slice of delicious floppy cheese pizza. In classic foot-in-mouth style I said out loud “Your pizza is really good! The sauce tastes similar to Spinelli’s“. They were not keen on the comparison. I realized instantly this was a city with a fierce pizza war.
Food truckers are growing strong here in Louisville and are excellent in their gatherings and promotion of one another. That’s a friendly war. But is there also a fierce Mediterranean battle going on in Louisville as well?
Being a person who lives and works downtown I have the pleasure of sampling multiple Mediterranean fast-casual restaurants all within just a block or two of one another. There’s three restaurants within a mile of each other on 4th Street alone. But today I passed them all and headed for the intoxicating Shiraz Mediterranean Grill on Frankfort Avenue.
There’s a heavy focus on fresh ingredients at this restaurant. I’m not going to name names, but I did notice at one of my downtown Mediterranean stops the cook put my entire lamb entree into a microwave. Not cool. And not at Shiraz. Shiraz instead uses grandmother patented Mediterranean recipes that are seasoned and spiced to perfection. During today’s visit I feasted on marinated chicken kabob, tabbouleh and the freshest corn on the cob (aka balal), which was fire-roasted and treated to a sea salt bath. The combinations at this restaurant seem endless: choose from white rice, herbal rice, lentil rice, or sweet potato fries; sides of a shriaz salad, quinoa, hummus, eggplant; pick from beef, shrimp, lamb, mahi-mahi all cooked on natural oak char-grilled. For the non-carnivores there were falafels and delicious looking veggie kabobs. And any old restaurant could have a Coca-Cola soda fountain machine with standard Coke products, but Shiraz had the brilliance to install the rare Barq’s Red Cream soda. Well done.
Although there are 15 Mediterranean restaurants within 15 minutes of me at any given time and plenty I’m still dying to try (I’m looking at you Grape Leaf) I can always count on Shiraz to deliver a powerful punch to my taste buds.