Grand Adventures

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant and Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café show what eatin' good in the neighborhood really means.

The menu covers two sides of a legal-size sheet of paper. One side features your typical American bar-and-grill selections: burgers, chicken tenders, onion rings, French fries and even deep-fried ravioli. There's a gyro plate and a pita wrap with either a beef or chicken kabob. On my first visit, I ordered the beef-kabob pita wrap to go. The kabob itself was good, a strip of ground beef with that signature blend of char and onion and tangy spices. But it was slathered in what tasted like mayonnaise, as was a chicken pita wrap I sampled on a later visit.

The other side of the menu features Persian dishes: a few kabob plates, a few salads, two appetizers and three entrées. On my second visit, after trying doogh, I ordered the combo kabob plate, which includes one beef kabob and one chicken kabob (actually, four small pieces of chicken) around a pile of fragrant basmati rice. My friend tried an entrée, zereskh polo, basmati rice strewn with barberries and served with what appeared to be the exact same chicken kabob I had. The flavors were direct and satisfying: the tart berries, the smoky chicken.

On this and a third visit I started with kashke-bademjune, a delicious mixture of mashed eggplant seasoned with garlic, onion and mint and topped with a swirl of whey or whey mixed with yogurt. I wanted to try the other appetizer, "Salad Oliviá," apparently a sort of chicken salad, but this wasn't available, so instead I shared the "Persian Salad" of diced cucumbers, onions and tomatoes.

Simply satisfying: Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café offers comfort food, Persian-style.
Robert Boston
Simply satisfying: Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café offers comfort food, Persian-style.

Location Info

Map

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant

3210 S. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63118

Category: Restaurant > Eritrean

Region: St. Louis - South Grand

Details

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant
3210 South Grand Boulevard, 314-772-4442. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.

Sambosa (beef) $4
Kitfo $9.95
Meskerem combo $10.95

Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café
4101 South Grand Boulevard, 314-752-5539. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. (Closed Mon.)

Kashke-bademjune $4.95
Zereskh polo with chicken $8.95
Beef and chicken kabob $10.95

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Also unavailable on two visits was ghormeh sabzi, another of the three entrées, a stew of beef, greens and red beans. The third entrée is ghaymeh, described on the menu as "beef with tomato sauce and split peas." In fact, it's a stew, served in a bowl with a handful of French fries bobbing on the surface. The fries were pretty good, but the ghaymeh had the unpleasant flavor of canned beef stock, without a hint of tomato sauce.

Still, for straightforward Persian cuisine, Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café is worth seeking out. Try the doogh. Sometimes, your experience is as revelatory as eating kitfo for the first time. Sometimes, you pass your glass of dooghto a friend, who gladly drinks what you can't.

Have a suggestion for a restaurant the Riverfront Times should review? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes.com.

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