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Restaurants & Bars 11

Aram's Rotisserie in New Armenia

Melanie Wong | Jan 15, 2006 02:54 PM

Dropping by Aram's Rotisserie for a first visit, I ordered the plate of a quarter dark chicken, $7.25, which came with green salad, pickled relishes, hummus, garlic spread, and warm pita bread. I also opted for some of the hot sauce. I asked if I could buy a couple slices of lamb shawarma added to my order to have a taste, and instead, I was offered a free sample of some shaved lamb off the spit. The cashier said that people either love it or hate it, and I fell into the "love it" group. While a bit coarse, the roasted lamb was heavily spiced and gamey in taste with a zing of lemon. No timid baby lamb here.

While waiting for my order, I admired the small framed prints of Lebanese women in traditional dress and the Persian kilims used as wall hangings. With no one else around, I was free to climb up on the bench seats to finger and inspect the rugs more closely at eye level. When I picked up my order at the counter, the cashier said, "the kilims are nice, aren't they?", and I then realized that the wall of windows would have shown my reflection. I guess someone could see me jumping up and down on those benches.

Anyway, back to the food, the Rocky Ranger Jr. chicken was just marvelous and homey-tasting in its brown skin, herby marinade and dusting of sumac and chopped parsley. The garlic spread had a blonde tint to it and was denser than the chalky white Lebanese toom I had recently. It reminded me more of Greek skordalia, but with more garlic, and I thought it might have some potato in it. I lavished it on every morsel of chicken and was sad when it was all gone. The hot sauce was very similar to the chili condiment I've been offered at Turkish restaurants when I ask for more heat. I liked this medium hot sauce a lot as the flavor of the chili peppers comes through as well and not just the heat. That said, I didn't like it in combination with the chicken. It's best use was to blend a bit of it with the overly tart hummus to tone down some of the lemon juice and round out the flavor. Then I dragged a bit of pita through the dip and added some of the lightly dressed and chopped romaine lettuce for some crunch --- delicious! I enjoyed the near fresh and barely pickled carrot sticks and magenta-stained turnip pickles very much. They could make anyone want to eat more vegetables. This plate was just the right portion for dinner for me.

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