Sanford Speaks Out is the latest blog sensation written, edited and produced by Sanford D. Horn, a writer and educator. Sanford will write about issues of the day covering a myriad subjects: politics, education, culture, sports, religion and even food.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Aladdin Pita: a Merrillville Oasis
Aladdin Pita, a Merrillville Oasis Commentary by Sanford D. Horn May 22, 2013
Admittedly not a big fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I
recently enjoyed, not one, not two, but three good meals at good prices at
Aladdin Pita in Merrillville, IN, at the behest of my girlfriend, who had dined
there frequently in the past.
I will share a secret initially shared with me upon my
first foray into Aladdin Pita’s menu – there is a daily lunch special not found
on said menu. For six bucks patrons can enjoys a dinner’s worth of food for
Having eaten this lunch special three times, I can attest
that it is enjoyable, filling, and mostly consistent. Seated in a dimly lit
restaurant in a non-descript strip mall-ette of fewer than a half dozen
forgettable stores, the low key wait staff brings small dishes of humus, baba
ghanoush, and a cucumber, tomato, cilantro combo, along with fresh baked pita
bread. While the pita is freely replenished, don’t eat the contents of the
small dishes too quickly as extra costs a buck a dish.
While eating the appetizers, the lentil soup arrives –
thick – almost a pea soup consistency, but yellow in hue with a slice of lemon
accompanying. Never one for lentil soup, this is quite savory, and for a cup,
leaves one wanting more.
The entrees should have been, and were, served in a reasonable
amount of time as in each visit, Aladdin Pita was sparsely filled.
Surrounding a mound of yellow seasoned basmati rice are a
delightfully spiced shredded beef – called shwarma, chunks of seasoned kabab chicken,
two link sausage-shaped pieces of lamb – called keftah, some more of the
cucumber salad, served with a tiny ramekin-shaped dish of tasty tahini, and a
falafel ball atop the rice.
In two of three visits, leftovers were brought home. In
all cases the beef was excellent and the lamb was consistently good. The
chicken was dry in two of three cases and overcooked in the third.
If the regular menu is anything like the lunch special, I
am confident there will be something for just about everyone. From vegetarian
dishes to sandwiches to salads to kababs the menu is rich with ethnic
specialties and numerous options.
Service is consistent and steady, but not personable.
Attached to Aladdin Pita is the restaurant’s store featuring
even more ethnic options any fan of Middle Eastern cuisine will enjoy.
Sanford D. Horn is
a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.