A few months ago I was in charge of finding a place to eat for a Friday night out.
Ethnic it is!
Off the beaten path it will be!
Between Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Google Maps I found Jerusalem Grill.
It is a Middle Eastern, Persian, Greek, and Turkish restaurant. Um, hello! Yes, we will give it a try!
It is in a shopping center across the street from the Ingram Park Mall on Wurzbach. It isn't visible from the road because it is tucked into the corner of this shopping center. Also in the corner is a hookah lounge that belongs to the same people. It is separate from the restaurant so no worries if smoke bothers you.
Since our first visit we have been back several times and we like it more and more every time! Let me share the food with you! (Just so you know this is from several different trips there. We don't order this much food in one sitting for just the two of us! Usually....)
First let's start with the pita bread (made in house) in the top left corner. It was thinner and much larger than the pita bread we are use to seeing but it was still just as tasty. To the right of the pita bread were cold dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). They were not oily and had just the right amount of tanginess. Continuing right we had the gyro platter with a whole slew of side items. In front of the platter was a grilled chicken kabob wrapped in warmed pita bread. Finally, we had some baba ganoush.
This was our first time trying baba ganoush and I wasn't a big fan. I think it was the tahini (sesame paste) that was in it that I didn't care for. I don't have anything to compare the baba ganoush to, but if the paste had been left out, I think I would have liked it. It had the same consistency as hummus. Hummus, by the way, usually has tahini in it as well, but it is not as prominent.
Now it is time for more delicious food from a different trip to Jerusalem Grill. Let's start with the dolmas in front, then on to the pita bread to the left, and above that is a gyro sandwich (more understandable to Americans as a wrap). I have already discussed those things so let's move on to the items I haven't described.
To the right of the wrap was some of the B.E.S.T. falafel I have ever had in my life. Now granted, I have not had a lot of falafel in my life, but the ones from Jerusalem Grill are by far the best I have ever had. They were so good, that I would even consider writing a poem about them! Trust me, that is major coming from an analytical math minded person!
Below the best falafel ever, were some kibbeh. These were new to me so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into, but it is good to broaden my horizon especially if I can do it locally! Kibbeh are fried balls of bulgur wheat stuffed with lamb meat, onions and pine nuts. I did like them and would order them again. You could taste the pine nuts even though they were cooked in with the meat and had softened.
If I remember right, they must have brought out the tabouleh salad after all the rest of the stuff and that is why it got a picture all by itself, but look at that gorgeous green color! This was another first for me. It was parsley and mint, a lot of parsley, with some diced tomatoes and more bulgur wheat tossed with olive oil and lemon. It was good, but again that was a lot of parsley, my friends, a lot of parsley. If the olive oil was light then it would be a very healthy and low calorie side dish or as they call it at Jerusalem grill, a mezza.
To end our meal we decided to go the coffee route. Frankie went with a cafe latte which came in a Lavazza cup. Just drinking from the cup was a treat. We love that brand of Italian coffee and got to drink plenty of it on our trip to Rome. Frankie said the coffee itself wasn't that good and not even the cup could save it.
I decided to get an authentic Turkish coffee. I was so excited to get this coffee. I had it one other time at a different Mediterranean restaurant in San Antonio, that I now can't remember the name of, and I really liked it. When they brought it to me the first time, it was in the cup already. When they brought it to me at Jerusalem Grill, my back was to the kitchen and Frankie was facing it.
He saw the waiter coming with my coffee and said, "You're going to like this."
They brought out the cezve (Turkish coffee pot) and poured the coffee in the cup right at the table. Oh it was definitely a delightful thing to witness! I wanted to take pictures or a video so bad but the man seemed hurried and I am big chicken! Maybe next time, because there will be a next time!
I think you need to see a close up shot of my Turkish coffee. My very strong, very delightful cup of Turkish coffee.
To make Turkish coffee the water and finely ground coffee are boiled together, then the grounds are allowed to settle to the bottom, and finally the coffee is poured into the cup. Sometimes sugar is added in with the water and coffee but they don't do that at Jerusalem Grill. Once poured, there are grounds that go into the cup and like tea leaves they can be "read". I don't drink the coffee down to the end because I really don't want a mouth full of finely ground coffee, no matter how much I love coffee!
I tried to make it at home once. I searched thrift stores for several month to find my own cezve type pot and thought I had found one, so bought it. Later, I found out it was actually part of a vintage fondue set. *shrug* It seemed to work as far as I know. My version came out decent enough, but not great. I should try again...but with real Turkish coffee which has cardamom in it.
Once we finished our meal and walked up to the front to pay (you can pay at the table as well) there was a table filled with complimentary mints and other sweets. Frankie picked up two cookies and the waiter said they were on the house.
I tell you what, this place just kept getting better and better! A free date filled cookie from Saudi Arabia called ma'amoul! It tasted very good but it was a very dry cookie! It was a lot like a shortbread cookie but more crumbly.
All in all, everything we have had there was GREAT! The only things we didn't care for were personal preferences and had nothing to do with the restaurant itself.
If you find yourself near Ingram Mall go to Jerusalem Grill, you will NOT be disappointed. Unless it is Monday, because they are closed on Monday and that would be disappointing for sure!
I still have another art museum to blog about and one more restaurant. I have been slacking in getting this out. Darn job, it just gets in the way!
(Side note: I am very very very grateful for my job and say things just for laughs.)
So until then!