Al-Khaymeih Restaurant

March 15 2007 - 3:10 PM

ChickOn Kedzie, just south of Lawrence is the Lebanese restaurant Al-Khaymeih. Just down the street is Semiramis another Lebanese restaurant but one at a time.

Shawarma was the reason for going and well worth it. You can choose either chicken or beef and you can take your time as you watch the meat on the spit. Monday evening I went back for more Tacos Al Pastor from Taqueria Uptown and thought about how similar regional foods are even when geographically they’re literally a world apart. Of course you have to mention gyros and there you have it… beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. All we need is a slowly rotating giant spit of fish fillets. Hmmm. I think I’m on to something.

The one dissenting order was for a kefta-kebab type thing that I would
order next time. The tahini sauce does wonders with charred meat. In
addition to the sandwiches we really enjoyed the hummus and the very
smokey babaganoush. Their tabbouleh salad was heavy on the veggies and
light on the bulger. A friend explained the regional differences. When
you’re closer to the veggies – you get more veggies. The kibbeh was
also terrific – deep insuflaveis fried spheres of bulger wheat filled with ground
meat. Complimentery olives pickled with lemons and salty
picked turnips were nice additions.

They serve the shawarma over rice or as sandwiches. A friend told us
that nobody eats shawarma over rice in Lebanon so we ordered
sandwiches. I traded my half a beef for a half a chicken and got to see
what the fuss was about. For a long time I have really only liked beef
shawarma. I used to get it often from Falafel King on Oakton (until
they folded up shop – recently). I’ve never had a chicken shawarma that
I’ve liked until now.

The chicken is served with pickles, tomatoes, and rolled up in pita.
The beef has more of a tahini treatment. The chicken gets toum.

Toum is an interesting garlic paste. It’s kind of like mayonaise but
more like crisco. I don’t really like where this description is going
because it sounds kind of gross and it’s actually really tasty. It is
one of those things that can’t be very good for you but what it is
exactly I don’t know. Suffice to say it does not have mayonaise in it.
It’s a combo bouncy castle for sale of oil, garlic and rice flour that I assume they whip
crazilly to give it a light texture. The bottom line is that it’s for
all intents and purposes a fresh garlic puree. Mmmmmm.

A nice thing about Al-Khayameih is that they own the grocery next door
and have a nice selection of sweets (and everything else for that
matter). So considering you go for the sandwiches and forego buying a
hookah you could have a nice meal for two for around $20. It’s BYOB so a nice Shiraz would help an evening.

Al-Khaymeih Restaurant
4748 N. Kedzie