Veggie Boy: Eden's Grill

Better make sure you're hungry before ordering Eden's Grill's Vegetarian Dish.

This isn't exactly a shocking revelation, but you can't always believe what you read on the Internet sometimes.

Like, say, if you were doing some online reconnoitering of Eden's Grill (13843 North Tatum Boulevard, 602-996-5149) before making the trek to the north Phoenix to sup on the Mediterranean bistro's succulent offerings. After reading this review (or perhaps this one as well) you might surmise that the proprietors dish out some of the best Middle Eastern cuisine in the Valley, albeit with a certain amount of rudeness and poor service.

Despite these negative online critiques, Eden's Grill owners Marcus and Shalem Narsa aren't the second coming of the Soup Nazi. Not even close.

During our recent visit, the Iraqi expat promptly provided us with a veritable smorgasbord of vegetarian delights prepared by his wife with nary a bit of attitude. And what a feast it was.

You say potato, we say delicious.

The epicurean onslaught began with an order of succulent potato cakes as an appetizer, which were crisp on the outside and are filled with a spiced concoction of ground mushrooms, scallions, green beans, and carrots. Be sure to specify that you're ordering the meatless variety, as another version comes with a seasoned beef filling.

The main event of the meal, however, was the plainly named "Vegetarian Dish."

Shalem, who handles chef duties at the eatery, heaps ample amounts of food upon a large serving platter, starting with an ample bed of seasoned basmati rice mixed with toasted almond slivers and golden raisins. It provides a resting place for more than a half-dozen freshly prepared falafel nuggets, two skewers of succulent roasted peppers and onions, and four dolmeh (rolled grapes leaves stuffed with dill weed, olive oil, and rice). The usual helping of tahnini and cucumber yogurt sauce is also included.

Also on the platter are two veggie patties, which are made with such ingredients as minced cauliflower and parsley. While delicious, these fried vegetable cakes are a little greasy, so health nuts beware. (The patties are also available separately, and are also served with the same rice and veggies as the Vegetarian Dish).

The price of the entrees (running around $12.95 per person) also could be a little cost-prohibitive for more budget-conscious types. But given the size of Eden's Grill's portions, you'll likely have enough leftovers to take home for tomorrow's lunch.

Besides, Marcus and Shalem won't bitch if you ask for a doggie bag.

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