Reading the Mayor of Chicago Chowhound, Vital Information's, Middle Eastern list reminded me I had been meaning to try Little Shedrak's for quite a while, today was the lucky day. Lucky, you ask, well it's Sunday and Sunday at Abu Shedrak's place is Pacha day. When I asked if the listed Sunday special was available the waitress, a very nice Iraqi woman named Nina, was about to go in to full-on not-for-you mode, until, armed with knowledge from a past RST post, I preempted her with a "I have been looking forward to trying the lambs head"
While I imagine there are many variations on pacha Little Shedrak's version is a large bowl of clear, somewhat neutral tasting, lamb broth with various, and I do mean various, variety cuts of lamb topped with a rice and lamb stuffed oblong, about the size of a large orange, lamb stomach. The lamb stomach, which reminded me in color and shape of haggis, was stitched along the side with sewing thread and when Nina saw I was having a bit of trouble accessing the filling she showed me the trick of 'unzipping' the thread so the filling released.
I was also asked if I wished my pita in the pacha or on the side, I opted for the side, but she then instructed me on the fine art of dipping the pita in the broth, I almost felt as if I had made a slight faux pas by not getting having the pita in the pacha. Also, retrospectively, I think I should have released the rice from the stomach lining in the broth as opposed to my plate so it soaked up additional liquid.
The lamb meats in the soup were interesting and, mostly, tasty, especially the delicious lamb tongue. There was also the lower part of the lamb shank, cut just above the foot, perfect for Evil Ronnie, a halved lamb head, with a bit of tender cheek meat still attached and brain etc. in the cavity. There were also a couple of pieces of, for lack of a better description, bone-on lamb stew meat that were tender and delicious.
The pacha was, as I imagine most meals are at Shedrak's, served with lightly pickled cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, raw onion, hot pepper and, in the case of the pacha, a lemon half. Shedrak's is a modest, though fairly large, restaurant, large screen TV, counter seating along with two rooms of tables. There were decks of cards scattered about and the tea and Turkish coffee were flowing.
Sunday is also dolma day, but not this Sunday, for some reason, though they did have a special of white beans with lamb and the Gus (shawarma) seemed to be quite popular.
4749-51 N. Sawyer (at Lawrence)
Chicago, IL 60625
Open 7-days a week
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