I can't believe there's an Iraqi restaurant in Memphis
But there is. It is called Babylon and it is on the corner of Mendenhall and Summer. We saw it this weekend and we were intrigued, so a bunch of us went in and ordered the meal for 5, which included hummus, tabbouleh, 2 types of minced meat kebabs (chicken and meat), chicken kebabs, chicken cutlets and shawarma, plus hot fresh iraqi bread. While tasty, the cubed chicken kebabs were a bit dry, in my opinion, but everything else was really delicious. The minced meat kebabs were really moist and flavorful and the chicken cutlets (which I believe were called something like cream cutlets) were really really good--crisp and flavorful. There were several other intriguing-looking things on the menu, including lamb shank (plus lamb hearts and liver for the organ-meat-lovers out there). The waiter said they have been open about three weeks. The ambience was lacking and it was a bit slow (which I ascribe to the really large amount of food they were piling onto platters for the meal for 5), but they couldn't have been nicer or more hospitable. And I bet 8 people could have eaten that meal for 5.
As you can see from my nom de Chowhound, I live in NYC, and I was just in town visiting family. Please, Memphis Chowhounds, go to this restaurant so it will still be in business when I'm back for Christmas, because I'd really like to try that lamb shank....
I ate lunch there Saturday and wanted to like it a lot but didn't come away very impressed. The owners seemed very nice and are trying hard, so maybe we just had a bad day or made poor selections. We were in a bit of a hurry and weren't looking for a huge lunch, so I had the beef shawarma sandwich and my wife had the falafel sandwich. The bread, which is different from normal pita bread, was really tough and chewy. The beef was very dried out. The falafel patties themselves were very tasty, and the falafel sandwich came with a lemon/oil/vinaigrette type dipping sauce, but both sandwiches were really pretty dry. The menu entrees look good and I'll probably give it another try. Will report back if I have a better experience.