What the fattoush is a fattoush salad?!
In the simplest of terms, traditionally it's a salad made to utilize pita bread that is going stale. It doesn't sound so appetizing in those words, but that's why the pita bread for the fattoush salad is traditionally fried. We all know most everything tastes better when fried. The remaining ingredients are left up to each individual chef.
Enter our battle of the dishes contestants: Windsor in Phoenix and Phoenicia Cafe in Tempe. We know it doesn't seem fair to pit a gastropub versus a cafe rooted in Middle Eastern cuisine, but this is a BATTLE, people.
We've only got your best interest in mind when it comes to good eats.
See who fashions the better fattoush after the jump.
In One Corner: Windsor 5223 N Central Ave, Phoenix, (602) 279-1111
The Set Up: Piled high in a ceramic white bowl: chopped romaine with grilled pita, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onion, shaved radishes and butterbeans in garlic lemon vinaigrette ($9)
Pros: Garnishes should be multifunctional in aesthetic and taste. We loved that this salad was topped with lots of fresh herbs and a little feta cheese. It made the first few bites taste really fresh.
Cons: Once you get passed the fresh herbs, the remainder of the salad is rather boring, even when you finally reach the pita (not fried) buried toward the bottom. None of the ingredients have any zing, including the garlic lemon vinaigrette. Overall, we would say it's on par with a Sizzler salad bar.
Suggestion: Add salmon or chicken; it will contribute the sustenance that is otherwise lacking.
In the Other Corner: Phoenicia Cafe 616 S Forest Ave, Tempe (480) 967-8009
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The Set Up: Packed into a plastic purple bowl you might find in an old aunt's cupboard is crisp lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint mixed with a unique dressing and topped with fried pita ($5.99)
Pros: The dressing is super aromatic and herbaceous. The pita is fried (automatic plus points) and crunchy. The big chunks of tomato and cucumber are layered and well integrated into the salad.
Cons: There is no shortage of dressing and it's a bit heavy on the lemon. Maybe it was a combination of that and the authenitic seasoning of sumac that made it a bit too tart for us.
Suggestion: Add sriracha and you'll take this simple salad to a whole new level.
The Verdict: Phoenicia Cafe reigns supreme. We tip our hats to Windsor for a valiant effort on a different twist to the fattoush, but it's lacking the punch to win this battle.