- withalonge Jan 29, 2008 10:30 AM
near DU campus, this place has gotten mixed reviews... thought I'd throw in my two cents.
I was on my own for lunch for once, and was happy to be able to try something new (my usual crowd are spicy pickle fans.. I'm not complaining, but there is definitely more to life than the spicy pickle).
I ordered the veggie "sample" platter.... The hummus had excellent texture, but was really salty... it wasn't bad when other items were added in a pita, but plain it was just too much for me. It was very creamy and tangy otherwise. The falafel... while nice and crispy outside were very leaden (and cold) inside. I wondered if they were pre-cooked and then thrown in the deep fryer again to warm them up. The rice, had good flavor but was a bit dry... dolmas were very oily, I couldn't get past the oily-ness to get a feel for how they tasted. the tabouleh was the best thing on the plate... the fatoush was very oily as well, though when mixed with the rice it kind of balanced out. The babaghanouj, was very smooth.... I prefer it a little chunkier... but aside from that it was oddly sweet... I enjoyed it, but the sweetness was a bit cloying. I opted not to get the french fries with my meal... it was more than enough food without them... they gave me extra fatoush as a substitute (btw... they'll sub anything on the menu for you, you just have to ask).
the service was a little slow, but very friendly... and the place was packed! a couple people near me had what looked like tasty gyro's... and other meat dishes, I might return to try some of those... but would avoid the veg sampler next time. wish i'd had a lunch companion so we could have tried both. has anyone had the kibbeh? I was surprised they didn't have more lamb dishes. all in all, I'm not in a rush to get back there... but I'm still curious about the meat dishes. anyone have any input? also, I forgot to ask if they make turkish coffee? and was too stuffed to eat any desserts.... has anyone tried them? or should I just try the pita jungle next time I'm at DU?
I'll give you a not-incredibly helpful 2 cents. I am a huge fan of their tabouleh.. very crisp w/ parsley, lemon juice.. well done. The falafel was great one time and as-you-described the other. I like the plain but simple chicken kabob sammy as I can eat as cost-conscious as Subway and yet it tastes delish. (was that a Rachel Rayism? strike me now). The gyro (had it 3 years ago) was very good and I actually have always liked their hommus or hummus (not sure what spelling is preferred). The menu is huge and I obviously haven't tried much. It's always busy and I'm a happy customer when I'm in the area and it's lunch time.
I have not tried the desserts but the bird's nest looked great. Also don't know about coffee as Kaladi is 2 blocks down and I'm pretty sure it's a felony to be NEAR Kaladi and drink coffee somewhere else.
We have had Jerusalem food many times and like it. My favorite, however, is further east at the SE corner of Evans and Colorado Blvd - Ya Hala (sp). Really good hummus and a lemon/garlic/potato dip that is over the top. Falafels are good too and they have good looking desserts. So far we have have resisted the desserts.
Pita Jungle is OK but I like the other 2 restaurants better.
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I'd say if you are anywhere near Jerusalem and have a hankerin for middle eastern food go to Marrakesh on Colorado south of Evans. Clean, nice, great space and fantastic food. I know the chefs, who have cooked all over, and they're some of the best. Falafel is the best I've had in Denver and, did I already mention this, it's clean and new which is a far cry from Jerusalem, which personally I think has been average for about 10 years, or Ya Hala where, although I like the food, the owner was spraying for bugs while we ate. I only do takeout from there now. Also, Damascus is okay food but they make fresh pita which is always a plus.