Mediterranean Grill Smackdown

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.

Chicken kabob with Balal

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.

Bonus: Free wifi

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.
Shiraz Mediterranean Grill on Urbanspoon

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