Tonight I was treated to dinner at Alyan's Middle Eastern Restaurant located at 603 South 6th St. (literally just off the famous South Street in Philadelphia). They are a very small venue, but the flavors they offer are HUGE! I have been there before and have always chosen the mixed grill, whether it be the sandwich or the platter. The sandwich is a good buy since it offers as much meat as the platter, but for $5 less. Perhaps I should say it DID offer as much since that may have changed. The one thing I noticed tonight was that there wasn't as much meat on the platter as there had been the last time. Admittedly, they had run out of beef and I opted out of the Kefta, but they said they'd give me more chicken and lamb to make up for it. Maybe they didn't. I just don't know. Despite that, what I had was spectacularly delicious, as it always is.
Now, I'm no fan of hummus and that was a full 1/3 of my platter. But, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. I broke my pita in half and put the salad, some hummus and pieces of the meat into my pita and ate it as a sandwich. I've had hummus in the past and it was so heavy with garlic that I simply couldn't enjoy it. Garlic lovers may not have issue with it, but it just doesn't please my palate one bit. Tonight, though, the hummus was delicious. Yes, I could taste the garlic, but it was far more low key than I've seen previously. I do like chickpeas, so the hummus and I got along just fine with a sprinkling of salt on top.
For the first time, we ordered a pitcher of mint iced tea. It was superb! Not too minty, yet the mint was there. We had a choice of sweeteners - simple syrup with vanilla bean pods soaking it it, In The Raw sugar packets or Sweet-n-Low. My dining companion chose the former and I chose the latter. I'd never seen a simple syrup offered as an option before. I was impressed.
We ordered extra pitas so that we could finish what was on our plates and then we were done. The entire meal for the two of us was $32 and change. It's a great way for someone unfamiliar with the cuisine to begin. Who doesn't like grilled meat??