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EXPLORING MIDDLE EASTERN FARE

 Kristi@triadfoodies.com | @triadfoodies

The Triad has an ever-growing selection of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants that open the palate and sometimes the sinuses and apparently all spell Shawerma and “babahanoush” differently (see below). CHOW wanted to make sure you knew where to look, when you’ve got a craving for something out of the ordinary.

MOONEY’S MEDITERRANEAN CAFE

101 W. 4th Street, Winston-Salem

A blend of Greek, Lebanese and other Mediterranean fare, Mooney’s is definitely one of the more popular restaurants in downtown Winston-Salem at lunch where you walk up, order and take a number then get your food. At dinner, it’s table service. You can make a nosh fest with the falafel and the hummus platter as well as babaghanouj. Popular items include Shawarma (meat and toppings wrapped in or laid on top of flat bread) and Kafta (Lebanese meat kabob) with steak. Mooney’s also provides a great selection of gluten-free options with items like pita, couscous and tabouli. You’ll also find many items marked vegetarian. Don’t care for Shawarma or Kafta with Steak? Try a burger with fries. Not everyone is so adventurous. Owner David “Mooney” sources local ingredients when possible including Apple Brandy Organic Beef from North Wilkesboro, Krankies Coffee, and local craft beer. He also shops the Cobblestone Farmers Market and often you’ll see him sautéing up some veggies for shoppers at his booth there.

KABOBS

Fourth 214 West 4th Street, Winston-Salem

Just down the street from Mooney’s is Winston-Salem’s newest Middle Eastern addition, claiming a take on more Persian cuisine. At Kabobs, you get your naan to order. A cup of warm soup is an option to accompany your meal, which will be some version of a kabob, hence the name. Lunch and dinner feature kabobs with chicken, beef or lamb, shrimp, or vegetables on a bed of rice, and a gyro can be another option. Medhi Kaussauri says he strives for his dishes to be remembered as fresh and healthy with quality ingredients all served piping hot with naan that you can actually watch being prepared. Dessert options include Baklava and an exquisite sounding ice cream with saffron, pistachio and rosewater.

CHEF SAMIR SHALTOUT EGYPTIAN TREASURES

4212 W. Wendover Ave., Greensboro

Egyptian and Mediterranean with fattoush (Middle Eastern bread salad), Shawerma, kabobs, entrees, more falafel and babaghanoush spelled this chef’s way. Most days you’ll see Chef Shaltout (pronounced Shal-toot) chef-ing in the kitchen. He may even emerge and say “hello.” The restaurant embraces its heritage with Egyptian decor that belies the fact that it’s in a shopping center and surrounded by car dealerships. Chef Samir also has a full-scale catering operation in a truck that’s pretty hard to miss.

NAWAB INDIAN CUISINE

129 South Stratford Rd, Winston-Salem

You’d never know by the looks of Nawab Indian Cuisine that some people (whoever they are) are not fans of Indian food. The place is usually bustling with people, friends, coworkers, couples and even families. Yes, quite possibly one of the most surprisingly family-friendly meals can be had at Nawab. One thing about Indian food is that it is full of complex flavors and a light silkiness and sweetness that actually can be a hit with kids. And of course, you can’t go wrong with rice and perfectly cooked naan. Items to look for on this menu are the Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken and Rogan Josh (which comes with a selection of proteins from chicken to lamb to seafood). Lunch is an all-you-can-eat buffet, but dinner offers the full menu of entrees served mostly family-style. Two entrees might easily feed a family of four. You’ll want to order a side of veggies. And you must order the naan bread. Sister restaurant, Saffron, is located in the Westover Gallery of Shoppes in Greensboro. !

DO YOU have a favorite Middle Eastern restaurant? Let us know by reaching out to Kristi@triadfoodies.com

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