Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mirage

This restaurant is one of the few gems in the city that I am reluctant to write about for fear that food lovers and bloggers alike will let the cat out of the bag. But here I am, writing about Mirage and sharing one of my secrets. I love Mirage for all its simplicity. It’s tucked away in a strip mall on Montgomery road, passed Kenwood and before Mason, an unexpected spot for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. If searching for Mirage in a car, it’s behind two mega, mexican and coffee shop, chains.

The ambiance is as good as it gets for a restaurant in a strip mall. It’s obvious that the owners are making an attempt to make it warm and comfortable. I would venture to guess that this is a family run business. We’ve had the same server each time we’ve been there, while one of the other women always handles bills and payments.

During our last visit we ordered the appetizer platter as a group. It came with hummus, tabouli, baba ganoush, labneh and grape leaves. Everything on the plate was tasty. The platter is served with 4 pita breads that weren’t enough for our group so we ordered more to mop up the last morsels on the plate. The cook that makes the hummus and baba ganoush has a heavy hand on lemon juice and tahini, so don’t be surprised.

Each time we go there I get the only dish I love and won’t steer away from, lamb lula kebabs. Ground lamb meat with spices grilled on skewers served with pita, a choice of rice or Russian potatoes and soup or salad. I asked for rice and lentil soup with my kebabs. The lentil soup was terrific but a sprinkle of sumac gave it the oomph. The sumac enlightened the creamy lentils and its flavors. The lamb was perfect, as it always is, moist and tender with a handful of spices making this a remarkable dish. The rice is standard but wonderful. In previous visits, I’ve tried their Russian potatoes which is potatoes par-boiled, sliced and pan fried in butter and sprinkled with dill, very good as well. Others ordered chicken kebabs and Armenian salad instead of soup. I tasted the chicken and it was lovely but it doesn’t compare to the lamb lula. The salad consists of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions with a simple dressing.

They have a lengthy lunch and dinner menu. The lamb lula kababs are so divine, I haven’t tried anything else, yet. Our server does a wonderful job serving her tables. With their full rate service, warm atmosphere and did I mention great lamb lula kebabs Mirage is worth visiting. The space is small with limited seating, compared to other average sized restaurants, so I recommend making reservations. Each time we’ve been there it’s always packed by 8pm. They are a BYOB (bring your own bottle) restaurant so feel free to bring wine or beer to enjoy with the meal.

If Mirage wasn’t a recommendation by friends, it would have never crossed our radar. Our friends were adamant about going there and I am glad we did, it rates high on our list for great food with fantastic service and atmosphere. And here’s my adamant recommendation to you for Mirage. But promise me to keep this between us.

7 comments:

liz said...

you and these "friends" have been telling me to eat there for years and i haven't yet. what is wrong with me?

liberal foodie said...

You have to go. It's worth the trip up north.

Heather said...

nice! i'm definitely going to check it out!

Anonymous said...

It better not be packed all the time now. ;) They seriously have the best chicken kabobs...Andy's can't hold a candle.

k said...

wait, are you saying i should try the lamb lula kebabs? sounds like someplace i have to check out.

liberal foodie said...

I agree Anon- though I have a feeling because of its location it may not always be packed.

K- yes you should, MUST, get the lamb lula kebabs.

Erin B said...

Ahem, and you didn't even mention which FRIEND told you to go there. :-P