Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
Aladdin Mediterranean Restaurant
Tucked in back of the Hillcrest Uptown District center, Aladdin is a better-than-average Lebanese/Mediterranean restaurant that is worth checking out for a full service dinner, though the place also serves a good lunch.
The great patio gets plenty of afternoon sun and can be a perfect place to nosh on one of Aladdin's sandwiches. Priced at $8 each, the sandwiches feature different Lebanese-style meat and protein dishes such as koufta (a kabob of spiced and herbed ground beef), falafel, and chicken or lamb kabobs.
Wrapped in good pita bread and dressed with appropriate condiments according to the different meats, the sandwiches also include a simple but delightful salad of romaine lettuce and tomatoes. The salad is tossed with a tart, minty house dressing that accentuates the bold flavors of the kabob sandwiches perfectly.
Also good for lunch might be the pizzas ($9.50=$12.50), which seem to elegantly combine the best of pizza (i.e. mozzarella cheese and red sauce) with the refreshingly different toppings available at the Mediterranean restaurant (lamb kabobs, baba ganoush, et. al.).
Aladdin's interior is actually rather posh compared to the local alternatives for Mediterranean fare. Nights, the little dining room can fill up with couples and small families eating from the entree menu.
A bit pricey at upwards of $19, the entrees feature the same kabobs and grilled meats as the sandwiches, just in larger servings and with more side dishes like hommos, tabouleh, and plenty of the garlic sauce that accompanies much of the food at Aladdin.
Aladdin Mediterranean 619-574-1111 Open Daily 11-9