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Restaurants & Bars 6

Stealth shawerma, roast chicken and falafel

dvd | Aug 21, 200508:50 PM

For about a year I drove home from work past this place called Good Frikin' Chicken at Mission and 29th St, on the edge of Bernal Heights. It's in a newer building, the sign is on a nice, new green awning, and you can't see inside very well. Figuring it was some KFC knockoff, I never stopped until one day a friend and I were in the mood for some greasy fried. Imagine my surprise when I found that GFC serves the best middle eastern fast food I've had in SF or elsewhere (sadly, I've never been to the middle east, so if you've had better there, more power to you). Been there twice, and here's a review.

The basic menu is roast chicken (rotiserie and open flame grilled), shawerma (chicken or lamb), and falafel. The rotiserie chicken was redolant with herbs, sage being the main note. The flavor of the herbs penetrated the meat throughough; it's clear they didn't just rub the herbs on and toss it in the oven. The bird was on the small side, but light and dark meat were both fairly juicy (maybe a tad on the dry side, but when they don't cook to order you've got to take your chances). And that last drumstick and thigh were even better the next day.

The shawerma and falafel sandwiches are first rate. The main thing that sets them apart from other places in SF is the bread they use. Instead of the usual pita, GFC uses a thin, rectangular lavash-style flat bread. After wrapping, they toast the sandwich on the grill. The result is crisper and not at all doughy-tasting.

The best side dish is the hummus. Lot's of tahini, not too much lemon. It's served with a different, round, flat bread (not pita), coated with an herb blend similar to what they use on the chicken, then toasted.

Other side dishes were not impressive. The salad, romaine lettuce and some tomato wedges in a simple lemon and oil dressing, was simple but just fine. But the baked beans (they said it was a traditional dish in the old country) could have come out of a can, the potato salad, you could do as good at Safeway. The babaganoush, well, it was babaganoush.

Finally, desert. There's two baklavas, with pistachios or walnuts, which we didn't try, and another dish made with angel hair noodles, honey, pistachios, and mozarella cheese. A Jordanian item, according to the menu. We liked it.

Right now the place is small, with about 6 tables and a small counter. A sign says they're expanding to seat 75, so go now so you can say you knew the place when it was just a hole in the wall.

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