By Jay Bennett
You don't have to twist my arm to get me to dine on the cuisine of the Middle East. It's, perhaps, my favorite ethnic food — and has been ever since I was a little kid eating dinner at the house of my Uncle Walid, a Syrian immigrant. Back in the day, he was quite the cook, whipping up the best hummus, stuffed grape leaves, pita, tabbouleh, fatoush, you name it. For a WASP-y little dork like me, eating over at "Wally's" was like going on vacation.
Thankfully, there's no shortage of great Middle Eastern restaurants in the Valley. In fact, I've found more and better Middle Eastern eateries here than I ever did in Chicago, where I lived before moving here a couple of years ago.
And there's a great, inexpensive place near the intersection of Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard called Sabuddy Israeli Restaurant that's a must-eat if you live in the area. And if you're a Phoenix or Tempe resident, it certainly wouldn't kill ya to make the trek to Scottsdale for this stuff, especially when you consider the majority of the items on the menu are between $7 and $10.
The missus and I went pretty standard on our recent trip to Sabuddy, as we tried to get a feel for the basics. She ordered a falafel dinner. For $7, the plate came with four falafel balls, a generous serving of hummus that was scooped out to create a little pond of Sabuddy's tahini sauce (a nice touch, by the way), and a small serving of lettuce lightly dressed with a tasty lemon-vinaigrette.
Falafel plate: That's a lotta food for $7.
The falafel was hot and crunchy on the outside, and the chick pea mixture on the inside was moist and not at all mealy or grainy. The hummus was heavy on the tahini flavor but ultrasmooth and creamy. All in all, very good, especially when scooped up with warm pita.
I ordered the full kabob plate. As it said on the menu, "Kabobs in Israel don't come on a stick. Instead, you'll get ground meat patties season with special Middle Eastern spices, served open-faced on a warm pita." Couldn't have said it better myself. The meat patties, drizzled with tahini sauce on top, were perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked. On the side was Sabuddy's Russian potato salad, which is outstanding. It's got strong mustard and pickle flavors and is filled with carrots and peas. Make sure you try the potato salad if you venture up to Sabuddy. I would definitely order this meal again. The $8 plate really filled me up.
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The kabob plate: Hold the stick. (Photos by Laura Hahnefeld)
Overall, Sabuddy is a great mom-and-pop place that is ultra-clean and comfortable, with good service, great prices, and, most important, wonderful Middle Eastern food. Just like Uncle Wally used to make.
Sabuddy Israeli Restaurant 6949 E. Shea Blvd. #10 Scottsdale 480-348-2333