Marcona on Lyon

Marcona on Lyon Street has only been open for a couple weeks now. After I looked at their menu online, I was eager to try it out.

Featuring modern Mediterranean cuisine, that means that their influences are from the countries that touch that particular sea. Italy, Greece, Spain, and North Africa.

ROASTED FETA IN GRAPE LEAVES

They don’t photograph particularly well, but this dish was fantastic.

ROMAINE HEARTS

I really liked the mint yogurt dressing, and the pumpkin seeds added a lot to the flavor to the salad.

SPANISH CLAMS & SPANISH CHORIZO

My entree was disappointing. For the price point, it seemed sparse. The chorizo was tough and dry and there were a couple of empty clam shells in there. The bread didn’t add much of anything.

VIN SANTO & RAISIN, PISTACHIO, TURKISH COFFEE ICE CREAM

For dessert I ordered the Ice Cream, and they give you small scoops of three different flavors. I loved these. I don’t know if they make these in house or not… I’m actually hoping they don’t, so there might be an off chance that I can purchase them in bulk. I’m not typically a coffee ice cream eater but holy cow the Turkish Coffee was good.

The restaurant is pretty small but nice, intimate. They have a a small bar with a full cocktail menu, and another bar right in front of the open kitchen. Service was good, and despite my unenthusiastic feelings about my entree, everything else was great. Nathan had the Hanger Steak and he really enjoyed his meal. (We were both surprised by how tender the steak was!) I’ll definitely visit again later down the road.

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Why Haven’t I Been To Raad’s Mediterranean Grill Sooner?

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, Raad’s in East Hills has been open for about a year. For the majority of that time I didn’t know this place existed. When I saw a posting on Craigslist from them looking to hire new staff, I was incredibly confused; it says that this place is really close to my house, but I’ve never even heard of it! Is this a scam?

Turns out that no,  Raad’s certainly does exist, and yes, I am sorry that I didn’t know about this restaurant sooner! But better late than never, right?

Garlic Dip.
Garlic Dip.

Not my favorite garlic dip but still very good nonetheless. They make theirs with egg white, garlic, lemon, and seasonings. Served with large pieces of thin bread that were crispy on the bottom and soft on top.

Lamb & Beef Jambalaya
Lamb & Beef Jambalaya

Off the lunch menu, I ordered their Lamb & Beef Jambalaya. I was actually deterred from this dish at first because of its name. It’s not that I don’t like the traditional Creole dish, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. After some hesitation I ordered it anyway because the description just sounded too good. Lamb and beef sauteed with garlic, mushrooms, peppers, saffron rice and topped with fresh onion, tomatoes, and herb. I am so thankful that I went ahead and ordered this dish because it was freakin delicious! I was a little shocked when I took my first bite. Flavorful, vibrant, savory but not heavy. I also ordered the dish to be spicy. Loved it! I chose to have mine plated, as opposed to put in a wrap, and you can choose two sides with the dish. I chose more saffron rice and hummous. The latter was okay. I’ve never been a hummous fan and have only tried maybe two in my entire life that I enjoyed. The saffron rice was good and different from any of tried so far. Do they season it with cinnamon, perhaps? I couldn’t place it, but I was also too distracted to really focus on it.

The chef who prepared my dish also gave me a complimentary side of their Raad’s House Salad, and after trying it I immediately knew why. Because it was incredibly delectable! He must have known it was my first time dining there. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I have ordered it? He got me hooked, and I owe big thanks for that. A mix of Mujadara and pomegranate with parsely, chips, radish, veggies and olive oil. Light, fruity, citrus-y with a great texture.

Turkish Coffee
Turkish Coffee
View From Bar Seating
View From Bar Seating

The interior is nice looking and cozy. They have bar style seating right up against their front windows that offer a nice view of East Hills. I find the prices to be reasonable, and I went in during an off time so the food came out at a good pace. I don’t think they serve alcohol. Raad’s focus is on serving some of the finest traditional and fresh food, and I believe they deliver. I really like this place, and if you haven’t been here yet, I strongly recommend that you go asap!

Delicious Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Le Kabob.

Le Kebob on 28th Street is a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant located in a strip mall.  I liked the food so much that I went again the next weekend, so this entry will have two trips combined into one.

Le Kebob Garlic Spread.

Le Kebob KibbehLe Kebob Meat Pie.

As soon as you are seated, your server tells you that they will be right back with a basket of bread and garlic. This honestly may be my favorite part of the whole restaurant. The pita comes out hot and tender, and the spread is phenomenal. I am obsessed with garlic, so some may find it overwhelming. When I asked what it was made of, I was told that it’s just garlic, olive oil, and “a couple other things.”

The right is Fried Kibbeh. Beef and onions sauteed, stuffed in kibbeh balls, and fried. Served with a very mild yogurt sauce. The kibbeh here is my favorite I’ve ever had so far, due to flavor and the moistness.

Bottom photo, their Meat Pie. I liked the filling but I wasn’t a fan of the dough, mostly the texture.

Le Kebob Chilli.

Le Kebob Salad.

The Lamb Chilli was pretty lackluster. The salad came with my meal, so I’m not sure which one is was. Either the Greek Salad or the House. It was quite fresh and the citrus dressing was very tart.

Le Kebob Lamb Chops.

The Lamb Chops come in three or six pieces. I’m not sure if they only cook it to one temp, or if the server forgot or didn’t bother to ask me, but they came out well done. Surprisingly, I still enjoyed it. Seasoned deliciously. The rice was tasty and light with a nice oiliness to it.

Le Kebob Sauteed Beef.

The Sauteed Beef is cooked with mushrooms, cilantro, and a little garlic. The sauce was a little too sour for me, but I have to state that I was getting over being sick when I had this meal. I’ve noticed that when I haven’t gained my senses back to normal levels, I’m quite sensitive to sourness, so that may have been a small factor.

Le Kebob Rice Pudding. Arabic Coffee.

I love rice pudding, and this one was pretty great. Cold and not too hard, not too soft. Their Arabic coffee was good as well, and I think it’s best to drink it without cream.

The service here has been efficient and friendly, and the atmosphere is pretty casual. Prices are in the medium range. Le Kabob is one of my new favorite restaurants in GR, and if you’re in the area you should check it out.

Update 9.23.14

Try the Batata Hara! Freakin delicious!

Batata Hara

At the Pita House, And I Just Had to Order That Meat Pie Too.

The Pita House has three different locations in Grand Rapids, and the one that I frequent is on 28th Street. Featuring Mediterranean food, some locations offer not only a deli but groceries as well. This one does not.

Shish Kabob Platter.
Shish Kabob Platter.

The Vimto you see in the photo is described as “Fruit Flavored” and is made in Quebec. It’s a mystery which fruit the drink may be featuring, but it’s a tasty carbonated beverage nonetheless.

I got the Shish Kabob Specialty Platter. I chose lamb as the protein and holy crap, it was fantastic. The meat was seasoned beautifully and was juicy and chewy, but not overly so. It had a bit of pink in the middle, and while I prefer most meats rare, it’s on a kebob; plus, it was still delicious! The rice was good, subtle in flavor and had a nice texture. Great with the lamb. Tabbouleh was made with fresh parsley, and the mint was pleasant. It was a bit too sour for me, and I think if they added more onion I would have enjoyed it more. The hummous was creamy with some great olive oil in the center.

Meat Pie.
Meat Pie.

After I ordered my platter I saw a sign that boasted of their new meat pies, and of course I had to order one. I had their previous version before and really liked it, but this one was just okay, if that. The first couple of bites were all dough, which was slightly sweet, soft, and and crunchy at the seams. There wasn’t much meat filling, which itself was spiced nicely but a little dry. I liked the pies the way they were before; smaller, with more meat, so you get more flavor in each bite. The cucumber sauce served aside it was delicious and more authentic in flavor from what I’m used to. I got more yogurt from it and less sugar.

This place is great for a casual sit down with reasonably priced Mediterranean food. The lamb skewers are highly recommended. My other favorite meal to get from here is their Falafel Wrap. It’s great because you can build your own!