Jerusalem Market and Restaurant is a Turkish delight. Alright, so maybe it’s not so much Turkish as it is Middle Eastern, but it is still delightful! The Squad decided to venture out for lunch this Saturday. Thanks to Jennifer Biggs’ list of ethnic markets, we had a new place to try. Since they like new places, we dragged our neighbors and fellow bloggers, Collin and La, along too.
The Squad loves Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine, and we had been craving more ever since our Passover cooking demo. From our first sight of the menu at Jerusalem Restaurant, our mouths were watering. We saw a lot of favorites and a lot of new tastes that we couldn’t wait to try. Like so many of our favorite ethnic restaurants, Jerusalem is hiding in a strip mall, and the restaurant almost seems like an afterthought to the market. There’s no fancy decor here, but that’s not what we were worrying about. We were ready for the food.
We started with hummos with pine nuts and the house-made pita bread. The hummos was unbelievably creamy and lemony and was liberally sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. With the soft, fresh pita bread, it was a perfect meal starter. Even Squirrelly, Jr., liked this hummos. Our server also brought us a small plate of olives and pickles. The pickles were sharply sour and spicy, but the olives were bitter for our tastes. Teh Boy normally loves olives, but these were just too bitter for him. We also decided to try the falafel. They were hot and fresh and absolutely delicious.
In addition to the fresh cucumber-laden salads that come with the entrees, we decided to try the Turkish salad. This was a flavorful mix of onion, parsley and spices in a tomato and olive oil base. While it wasn’t necessarily what we would have defined as a salad, it made for another great spread for the pita bread. We also tried the lentil soup. This was a nicely smooth and seasoned puree of green lentils. A wedge of lemon on the side let us add a nice shot of tartness. Needless to say, we were already getting stuffed, and our entrees hadn’t made it to the table yet!
When they did get there, we found plenty of room to enjoy them. Teh Boy had decided on the lamb shish kabab. He got a large plate heaped with a lovely yellow rice pilaf topped with skewers of perfectly seasoned and grilled lamb and a skewer of tomato and onion. He was a very happy boy! Papa had decided on the combination plate: his rice was topped with a skewer of lamb, a skewer of chicken, a skewer of tomato and onion, and a kefta. The lamb was juicy, the chicken was smoky and the kefta was nicely spicy. I had decided to be different and ended up with the meat shawerma sandwich. This was a pita stuffed with spiced shredded meat, pickles, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and a creamy yogurt sauce. We ate until we almost couldn’t move and still ended up with a nice box of leftovers to take home.
We were way too full for dessert, so I guess we’ll just have to go back. Papa and I did have to try the Arabian coffee, though. This was traditional Arabian coffee, very strong and rich with a thick sludge of grounds at the bottom of the tiny cups. Papa and I were both pretty sure that we could taste a hint of mint in the coffee. It was a perfect close to the meal.
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Jerusalem Market and Restaurant
4794 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
Sunday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday -Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.