ROM: Shawarma King
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Shawarma King is a Lebanese restaurant on Beacon Street just outside of Coolidge Corner. At first glance, it seems like another fast food joint; a white sign taped to the window reads, “Don’t feel awful, eat Shawarma King falafel!” You pick up your food on paper plates at a counter, then sit down at one of the plastic tables.
Despite its appearance, the restaurant is comforting and the food is delicious. You can watch employees cook behind the counter, which gives Shawarma King a feel of family and home-cooked meals.
Although it revolves around meat (literally, as beef, lamb and chicken rotate on large spits, ready to be sliced off), the restaurant includes many options for vegetarians. The restaurant serves falafel in a sandwich or alone, tabbouli salad (small, $6.99), lentil soup ($3.99), fattoush with or without chicken, and other non-meat meals.
We began our meal with a small hummus ($6.99) drizzled with olive oil. However, it is also available topped with ground lamb or shawarma. The hummus had just the right amount of olive oil and paprika, making it rich and spicy.
The restaurant’s signature dish, a shawarma sandwich ($6.99), consists of slices of chicken or beef with pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and tahini sesame sauce, all wrapped up in pita. The meat was juicy and the vegetables gave the sandwich a nice crunch.
The falafel sandwich ($6.49) is similar to the shawarma sandwich, the only difference being that falafel replaces the meat. The fried chickpea balls were chewy and satisfying. Although we enjoyed both the shawarma and falafel sandwich, we did think that the wraps had an overabundance of onions.
The fattoush (small, without chicken, $6.99) is a nice option for a lighter meal. The salad comes with cubes of cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as pieces of pita.
We also ordered a lamb kibby ($13.99), a Lebanese meatloaf made with bulgur. The beef was a little dry, but the yogurt sauce on the side moistened the dish.
The restaurant also offers an array of both canned sodas and house-made beverages, including fruit juices ($2.99), lassis ($2.99), and lemonade ($1.99). The lemonade is tart and refreshing, and an infusion of rose water makes it unique.
Although all the other food we ordered was fantastic, the standout of the day was the dessert: a small, square pastry called a Bird’s Nest ($2.25). The crispy phyllo offset the sweetness of the syrup that was poured over the pistachio filling, and the pastry was a perfect mix of nuttiness, sweetness, and saltiness.
Shawarma King is perfect if you’re on the go and want a quick but tasty bite to eat, or if you’d like to hang out with friends in a relaxing environment.