I just returned from my third exploration of Middle Eastern restaurants on Harlem between 63rd and 119th, and Ameer looks more promising than Baladi and Little Egypt. Ameer occupies a wide berth at the north end of a strip mall on the NW corner of Harlem and 112th St. in Worth. (At the south end is a Middle Eastern store that looked well stocked, such as with a dozen different types of olives and marinated vegetables in serve-yourself metal trays.) Ameer was bustling on this warm evening in front on the sidewalk, inside the door at a small counter heaped with deserts and mounds of fruit, and in the warren of dining rooms bedecked with plants, fountains, and waterfalls.
The staff made me feel welcome. The food made me realize I've been eating plain-Jane Middle Eastern 'til now. The hummos-baba ghenooj combo (not on the menu as a combo) was a great sight. Instead of the dull-looking piles I'm used to, each was decorated along its edge with alternating red pepper and parsley. In the center of the hummos was a pool of olive oil holding unmashed chickpeas and minced pickles, giving it an eggy taste. The baba ghenooj was spicy.
The chicken shawerma sandwich had good flavor but was a little dry, although the white onion slices and pickles helped out.
This is a restaurant whose menu I would like to delve into, in good part because the place was so full of life and pride in its fare. Among the items on the menu (verbatim) are these: Eggs w/potatoes; Hearts, liver, and inserts; Salmon kabob (fried or grilled); Quarries; and Cornished. There's a daily special. Monday's is Green molokia w/ chicken. When I asked the waiter what molokia is, he said, "Soup with slimy spinach. You can have the chicken in or out of the soup."
11136 S. Harlem Ave.
Worth, IL 60482
(708) 671-1080 and -1880
10a - 12a, every day