#75: Meat Shawarma at the Vine Mediterranean Café & Market

Jun 8, 2010 at 4:40 pm
Shawarma on the spit at the Vine - Jennifer Silverberg
Jennifer Silverberg
Shawarma on the spit at the Vine
A pass-through affords a glimpse into the kitchen: At certain angles you can see the vertical spits on which spin inverted cones of meat and chicken shawarma. The meat shawarma is an especially beguiling sight, a patchwork of beef and lamb as thick as a linebacker's thigh. This is sliced to order and served over rice with pita bread and a tangy tahini sauce -- a build-your-own-gyro kit, if you like.

Folded into a pita or eaten plain with your fork, the Vine's meat shawarma is nothing short of excellent. Inevitably your order will contain a few pieces from the exterior of the spit -- crisp, even crunchy, and enjoyable in its own way, like the edges of pork carnitas. But the majority of the meat is so tender you might think it had been braised. Really, the process isn't very different, as the spit's long, slow spinning gives the fat inside the meat time to render. The flavor has the richness of pot roast, with enough of lamb's gaminess to keep things lively on the palate.

(from "Mid-East Marvel," February 18, 2010)

The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market
3171 South Grand Boulevard
$8.99 (lunch) / $10.99 (dinner)

I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious. Please do not hesitate to share your own favorites via the comments thread.


#76: The South Side Smoke at sandwich at Stellina Pasta Café
#77: Falafel at Kabob House
#78: A slice with pepperoni at Feraro's Jersey-Style Pizza
#79: Birria at Pueblo Nuevo
#80: Banh mi dac biet at Phuc Loi

#81: Prosciutto bianca pizza at the Good Pie
#82: Gold Coast Chocolate ice cream at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream
#83: Hot salami (salam de testa) at Gioia's Deli
#84: Veal parmesan sandwich at Biggie's
#85: Nachos (with jalapeños and extra cheese cup) at Busch Stadium
#86: Lobster bisque at Café Ventana
#87: Calamari fritti at Mangia Italiano
#88: Brisket sandwich at Winslow's Home
#89: Paletas at La Vallesana 2
#90: Spaghetti and meatballs at Sugo's Spaghetteria