When I returned home from a trip to Morocco recently I really wanted to share the experience with my husband (who did not have a furlough week to go gallivanting around Northern Africa). So the day after I returned, when we dropped my direct-from-Marrakech fabric off at the tailor we use on Bardstown Road, Zaytun Mediterranean Grill caught my eye. Granted, it’s not quite North African food, but it was close enough for me in my jet-lagged state.
I tend to be pretty loyal to El Wattan on Klondike, as they have the world’s best falafel (despite what that famous place in Paris claims). But I’m open to giving others a chance. And the menu amused me with its advice, “When you feel awful … eat a falafel”) Several options looked a little unorthodox – onion rings, cheezy bread and pita crunchers? Are we at Applebees or an independent Bardstown Road joint?
We stuck with a couple classics — humus and falafel sandwiches, plus a side Greek salad (flying makes me famished). You can choose between Phoenician (($4.50) or Egyptian ($4) hummus, with red peppers featured in the former, roasted garlic in the latter. Avowed red-pepper loather that I am, I chose Egyptian. The falafel sandwiches ($6.50) come with your choice of lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, jalapenos and/or banana peppers.
The hummus arrived first – a softball sized mound, surrounded by pita chips. A lot thicker than El Wattan’s hummus, it was also seasoned completely differently. Just back from my expedition to the land of cumin, I immediately recognized a healthy dose of that spice, and got the waitress to tell me that coriander is in the dish too. Other than that though, they were mum on the “special blend of seasonings.”
The falafel sandwiches were served open face – a pile of falafel balls atop a flat bread. The consistency reminded me of hush puppies – very soft on the inside. Though again unlike my favorite falafel, they were nevertheless quite tasty, especially when slathered with the tzatziki sauce.
My eyes were far bigger than my belly, and were it not hovering around 90 outside with errands to run, I would have taken half my falafel home. I did grab a refill to go of my sweet Persian iced tea though.
Zaytun left me quite contented (and with a pleasant aftertaste of cumin). It’s officially now in my roster of veg-friendly places to eat in Louisville.
2286 Bardstown Road