I was thinking of piggybacking this post onto Robs I need a new Middle Eastern place, but I realized that Shawerma King does not have any of the attributes that he is looking for, except one, absolutely delicious shawerma. In light of Harry Vs enjoyably literate post, I will try not to drift off into my usual hyperbole laden prose, though it will be difficult.
A few weeks ago I was about have lunch at Salaam when Shawerma King, which is across the street, caught my eye. I seemed to remember a tangential Chowhound reference to SK, but could not place the poster or even if it was a positive review, but I thought why not give it a try.
When I walked in my first impulse was to turn around and head back to Salaam, SK is not all that inviting, two spinning shawerma rotisseries in back of a chest high counter, a refrigerated case with premade salads, humus etc and a clear(ish) plastic tarp separating the order area from an eating area with a few Formica topped tables. Its not that I cared about the lack of ambiance, but, in my estimation, premade salads in little plastic containers are an indication of mediocre food. In this instance, I was very wrong.
The two shawerma choices are beef or chicken, my typical shawerma order is beef, but the chicken seemed to be calling me, so one chicken shawerma it was. The man behind the counter seemed a bit disinterested in both me and my order, once again making me wish I had chosen Salaam, but for $2.75 I felt I could afford to at least try the sandwich. As soon as I ordered things immediately changed for the better, out of the dining area, through the plastic tarp, which was cut in the middle like a set of swinging doors, came, what could only have been the owner.
As soon as he was behind the counter he checked my order, then washed his hands, always a good sign, then proceeded to make the absolute best chicken shawerma I have ever had the pleasure to eat, and now firmly in my top ten sandwich list. (When I get around to making one up)
First he 'toasted' the pita by holding it up to the element on the rotisserie, then sliced meat directly into the pita he then added a bit of very thin sliced red onion and yogurt garlic sauce.
When I bit into the sandwich I got a hit of garlic, and just the faintest hint of curry, not really curry, but a deep rich flavor reminiscent of Indian curry. The meat was juicy, flavorful and the sauce, red onion perfectly complimented the meat. The sandwich was rolled tight in a paper wrap and quite hot.
The chicken on the shawerma cooker was a deep yellow color, which turned out to be saffron, real saffron, not annatto, this accounted for the deep rich, fragrant flavor.
Outstanding sandwich, just about perfect.
When I was leaving he gave me a taste of the beef, really good as well. He sprinkled sumac on the beef, which brought out the flavor.
When he gave me a taste of the beef, he did not just clump it on sandwich wrap. He carefully cut out a circle of pita, toasted it, then layered on a bit of meat, thin sliced red onion, then sprinkled with sumac.
Great sandwich, excellent attention to detail. I have been back twice since my first visit and am still head over heels for the chicken shawerma sandwich.
4639 N Kedize
Chicago, IL 60625
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