Basha vs. Pita Inn
Basha and Pita Inn are two Lebanese/Middle Eastern fast food joints on Dempster Ave. in Skokie. My husband and I are Basha loyalists, but we notice that Pita Inn is always way more packed with customers. We ate at Pita Inn yesterday (his first time, my second), and our good opinion of Basha was confirmed. Pita Inn's falafel was indifferent and comes with limp pale lettuce, and the Jerusalem and yogurt salads were bland. My husband said the shawarma was disappointing. We didn't try the baba ganouj (sp?), though, which is the real test for us. They did have some nice-looking baklava at a reasonable price ($.85), but we were too full to try it.
Basha's baba ganouj is FABULOUS--smoky tasting, complex, and rich. I love their vegetarian sides platter, which comes with falafel, two salads, hummus, and baba ganouj. The service is always pleasant, and the place is clean. They've just added more salads to their menu.
What does everyone else think about the two in comparison? Any theories as to why Pita Inn is more crowded? Maybe Basha needs a bigger sign and more advertising?
A chowhound in Evanston,
I just ate at the Wheeling location of Pita Inn on Friday. I had not been to either location in a couple of years. The shwarma and the falafel were good, not great, but the pita was not very good.
Since the great shwarma from Shwarma King is still fresh in my mind, it was disappointing.
My wife and I have eaten at Basha and Pita Inn. Alas, what we liked best was the restaurant that Basha replaced (Tabouleh, I believe). Not only were the hosts gracious, but the food was dead on -- exactly like what I tasted in the middle east. Basha, while better than Pita Inn, is not as good as Tabouleh was.
I've been to Basha twice and Pita Inn several times. Most of all it is convenient to shop at the market next to Pita Inn when they are busy preparing my dinner.
I do agree that Basha does some things with more care than Pita Inn. However, I remember them being less helpful when I asked questions. Some customers may take that as less hospitable. I like them both.
I'm not really crazy about either place, but I do think they are pretty decent. In terms of food quality I think that the falafel and pita are better at pita inn and that chicken and hot sauces might be a little better at basha, basha also give you a little bitmore of the pickly stuff.
While I do love the guy at the Pita Inn market, I'm not sure the market is the reason that pita inn is more packed than basha. I think it has to do with the fact that Pita Inn is significantly cheaper and quicker and the food isn't THAT different.
I've never been to Basha, but as for Pita Inn, I love their warm, freshly made pita (which is warm and fresh at any time of day), their kefta kebab (juicier and better than any other kefta kebab I've ever had - usually they are all dried out and over-cooked), my husband loves their felafel (although on one occasion they were not very good, must have been an off night) - crisp and fresh, lots of green herb-y goodness. Their hummus is just the way I like it - creamy and lemony, without too much (or any?) garlic. I don't care so much for their shawarma or shish kebabs (well, the beef kebabs are good if you get the platter and not the sandwich - a little tough for a sandwich, IMO) I also like the yellow rice that accompanies platter dishes - especially tasty if it's been soaking up kefta kebab juices and tahini sauce!! Good baklava.
It's clean and the service there is always friendly, too. I feel though, their salads and babaganoush are not very good.
It seems like you picked all of the dishes at Pita Inn that I don't like. (And why would babganoush "be the real test"? the real test of what? whether they make good babaganoush? That seems kind of arbitrary, but then I'm not a huge babaganoush fan) Anyway, sometime I plan to try Basha on your recommendation, though Pita Inn will always occupy a special place in my heart.
When I went to Basha's about a year ago, the entrees that were ordered weren't fresh. The pita bread was a bit stale, and the meat chewy. Maybe they've gotten better? I haven't been back.
On the other hand, I've always has positive experiences over at Pita Inn - love their beef schwarma, baba ghanouj, and falafel plate! Also, the place is always bustling, but always kept clean.