The Mercury News reviewed this place in December. We finally tried it last week and plan on going back tonight. The place sits in a small strip mall bordering Union/Curtner and Bascom. The place is casual and bright. We were not impressed by the decor but were impressed with the food. Although Mercury described the food as Assyrian, it is Middle Eastern with the usual fare of Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Falafel, Shawerma and Kabobs. The only authentic Assyrian dish they serve is Beryiani and only served on Friday. The owners greeted us as soon as we walked up to the counter. We started with the Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Jajeek and Falafel Plate. All the starters were great. The hummus was creamy, lemony and garlicky-not runny as some places. The Baba Ganoush was also terrific, smokey and chunky and topped with olive oil and kalamata olives. The Jajeek, which is homemade yogurt, mixed with cucumbers and mint, eaten with pita bread or lavash was different and refreshing. The falafel plate consisted of 4 large falafel balls and a side of hummus. The falafel balls were perfectly crisp on the outside and smooth and soft on the inside with a very nice hearty taste.
For dinner, we tried the special of the day, which was Beryiani. This dish is made with fragrant basmati rice mixed with shredded chicken, peas, potatoes, and finely chopped grilled onions. The dish was delicious, the mix of ingredients and spices was amazing. We also tried the Shawerma wrap and lula kabob wrap. I think Palms makes the best shwerma wrap in the bay area. I have tried many shawerma establishment from San Francisco to Gilroy and nothing compares. The thinly strips of meat, freshly cut from the rotisserie was perfectly seasoned and generously piled on lavash bread along with tomatoes, pepperocinis, savory pickles and tahini. The wrap is then placed on the grill and served toasted and hot. The lula kabob is similar to the persian koobieh kabob which is seasoned ground meat cooked on a skewer. Palms lula is spicier and firmer and little dry.
For dessert we had the Kanafeh and baklava. The kanafeh is homemade and very good, very sweet and rich with lots of honey sweetened syrup. Baklava is bought from a local baker and was average. Both deserts went perfectly with the hot tea as suggested by the owner. Overall, we enjoyed the fresh food, reasonable prices and the friendly service. We spent $80 for a party of four and still had some food to take home. I think the name confuses some customers, but the food is authentic and delicious. A must try if you're in the Cambrian area.
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