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New Jersey Mediterranean

Hot Tip - El Sham in Hamilton Twp for Great Mediterranean Food!

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Hot Tip - El Sham in Hamilton Twp for Great Mediterranean Food!

CherylAnnBorne | Dec 31, 2011 09:34 AM

I truly enjoy this restaurant. I have eaten there more frequently than any other one restaurant in the past year. It is my "go to" place.

My family and I, twelve people total, went for dinner last Thursday at 6:30pm. Chef owner Bashar asked us if we would like for him to creat a meal especially for us served family style. We were intrigued and without hestitation said, "Yes!" So, he removed our menus and asked us about what tastes we like. It was really a lot of fun!

The food was savory and delicious and bountiful. We had a tasting experience with many dishes on the menu. I had some of my favorites and a few new items that I might otherwise have never tried if I had not agreed to let the chef make the skillful selections... in Japanese cusine this is called Oma Kase and it quite the treat. I highly suggest that if you want the best possible dining experience that will truly delight all of your sense, that you go to El Sham when it is not busy and ask Bashar if he will serve you and your guest family style with his choice of the menu. Perhaps you can call in advance and arrange a day for this. El Sham is a great meal whenever you go, but everyone should experience this chef's seletcion family style of service for a truly delightful dinner.

We feasted for nearly 3-hours! Every one of my guests ranging from ages 2 to 80-something said this was a most pleasureable dining experience all around. And one of my guests is Lebanese and discriminating in his Mediterranean cuisine.

One of the delightful items we feated upon was an appetizer made with fava beans in a wonderful sauce -- I forget the name but it began with "ful." My daughter and I were in heaven... who ever dreamed beans would taste so good. They were delish!

Bashar also brought falafel and hummus and baba ganoush to the table for appetizers to please the vegetarian among us... but it was shared by all and we loved it. My daughter says this is the best hummus she has ever had. I find it has a really nice smoky flavor to it that is delish. The falfel is the best in the area, hands down. I used to have to drive 60-minutes to a hole in the wall in No Bruns to get goo falafel... now I can go right around the corner! And the baba ganoush is just terrific.

Next, some of our guests had lentil soup, which is extraordinary here... completely unlike the lentil soup that I am accusomted to, much to my delight. I highly recommend you try it. And all of us shared fatoush salad. I have never had this before and my taste buds were delighted. I loved the dish and was craving it badly the next day. I highly recommend this, as well!

For our main, we had a selection of savory meats accompanied with the wonderful yellow rice and grilled veggies that I love. We had chicken and two different types of lamb -- my guests said the lamb was absolutely incredible. For me, I love the chicken at El Sham. The chicken kabobs are so savory and flavored with incredible spices that I absolutely love. I wish taht I could make chicken at home like this.

I also have had their chicken shawarma in the past, which is very tender and a bit milder than the kabobs... both are terrific but my preference is for the savory kabobs, while others have told me that they prefer the shawarma. Another delightful surpirse are the chicken chops, which I tried the last time I ate at El Sham. Wow! I had passed these up in the past because when I asked what the are my server simply said chicken drumsticks. Oh wow, I ahev never had drumsticks that taste like this!!! This is a must try dish. I have no idea how Bashar makes it taste this way but it does not taste like your typical drumstick... nor does it look anything liek your typical drumstick. It is filleted on the bone into an artful presentation, and the taste is oh so savory... yummo!!!

We rounded off our meal with a selection of mini pastries and Arabian coffee... we order a platter of mini pastries and I highly recommend it because the desserts can be ordered by one or two pieces, so they easuly can be made into a platter for two or more to share. My very favorite dessert is the date mamoul (sp) -- you will think tha tyou ahve died and gone to heaven when you eat mamoul at El Sham. Also on the patter were lovely baklava logs and walnut mamoul. And although we did not order them this time, in the past I have had little cakes made from cornmeal -- I forget the name of these little delicacies but the taste is not to be forgotten anytime soon!

Definately give this place a try! You may very likely run into me there! Thank you for a memorable meal for my family, Bashar!

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