photo credit: Ta-Eem Grill
If you live around Melrose and Fairfax, Ta-eem is a secret you have tried to keep to yourself for as long as possible. This order-at-the-counter and completely Kosher Mediterranean restaurant is home to some of our favorite shawarma in the city, and a $22 dinner plate that comes with hummus, Israeli salad, and basically an entire plastic bag of pita bread. That might seem a bit steep for a plate of shawarma, but just now that portions here are massive and can easily be two meals. Come peak dinner rush, the large space is slammed with every family in the neighborhood, which is why we recommend taking advantage of their well-oiled takeout situation instead.
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Very juicy, very crispy, and very delicious–those are the three best ways to describe this big platter, which also comes with crunchy Israeli salad and their 10/10 hummus. There are also plenty of other sides, like pickles and cabbage slaw, to pick at while stuffing your face with shawarma, but we’re big fans of the warm pita bread for the table.
The crispy falafel is the other shining star here, but it’s the joint efforts of all the tasty condiments that make this sandwich one of our favorites. Along with the very necessary garlicky tahini dressing, we love the Israeli salad, babaganoush, creamy purple cabbage slaw, and the combination of red and green chili paste that brings that bit of heat that makes us feel alive again.
Big chunks of dark meat chicken are grilled with tons of onions and garlic, and it’s absolutely delicious. This all gets stuffed inside a fluffy sesame-crusted “baguette” (it’s really a sub) that receives your choosing of hummus, babaganoush, a variety of crunchy salads, and your choice of spicy or not.
This is the kind of hummus we dream about in moments of emotional vulnerability, and it’s perfect. The mix of chickpea and fava beans creates a thick but silky smooth consistency, and we love the strong hints of garlic, paprika, and lemon too.