BEST MEDITERRANEAN/MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT Phoenix 2006 - Eden's Grill Inn
What did Adam and Eve nosh in the Garden of Eden? Who the heck knows, but they probably couldn't have done any better than the rice at Eden's Grill Inn. Here the saffroned, aromatic basmati is crafted with seven different spices, and filled with sultanas and slivers of Marcona almonds, making it one of the best platters of rice we've ever inhaled in the Valley. They didn't eat meat in Eden, but fortunately we don't have to worry about that heavenly prohibition at Eden's Grill Inn, where the lamb shank is tender and soft, the chicken kebabs golden, juicy and plump, and the ground beef kebab chock-full o' spices. This Eden for Middle Eastern cuisine is run by Marcus and Shalem Narsa, Assyrian Christians originally from Iraq, but more recently from Chicago, where they owned a bakery and restaurant for some 25 years. As you might expect, their desserts are heavenly, especially the baklava, and the multi-layered caramel cake drizzled with melon sauce. Why, you'll think you've died and gone to, well, uh, Eden . . .