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Mediterranean cuisine in a Poway business park

Grenadine lives where fast food fears to tread

Potted trees separate the patio from the parking lot
Potted trees separate the patio from the parking lot
Place

Grenadine Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine

12205 Scripps Poway Parkway, Poway

Work has often brought me to Poway over the past couple of years, so I’ve driven past this strip mall at the intersection of Pomerado and Scripps Poway Parkway at least a hundred times. Maybe two hundred. There’s a gas station there, and a bank. Until recently there was a Carl’s Jr., but it closed. I’d never once noticed a small cluster of restaurants braced against a hillside at the shopping strip’s western corner. I was amazed to discover they exist.

That Carl’s Jr. was the only thing you could see from the street, aside from the pumps of Chevron. If a friggin Carl’s Jr. failed at the front of this location, what chance do the other restaurants have?

I’m hoping Grenadine can make it. The Lebanese eatery opened less than a year ago and has done a splendid job making the interior seem removed from its surroundings. A high ceiling and wide floor plan contribute to a clean, airy atmosphere, and a partially enclosed dining patio has enough decorative flow to ignore the parking lot just beyond it.

Baba ghanoush and a basket of fresh flat bread

Perhaps more importantly, the Mediterranean bistro bakes its own bread. As regular readers might know, I started with baba ghanoush. I’m always on the lookout for a good rendering of this eggplant staple, and Grenadine’s won me over. Though it leans heavily on both garlic and tahini, I devoured the $5.50 half-order without complaint, particularly enjoying the basket of warm pita slices and crispy zaatar-encrusted flatbread that accompanied it.

A little research tells me zaatar gets used on a lot more than just bread and that it often incorporates roasted sesame seeds, thyme, sumac, marjoram, and oregano. While they wouldn’t tell me their recipe here, it definitely starts with thyme and sesame, and the heavy dusting of herbs on the crispy wafers boosted my enjoyment of the ghanoush and tasted great on their own.

A bowl of dry soup and a tasty chicken shawerma wrap

For my main dish, I thought I would escape the baba ghanoush and shawarma rut I seem entrenched in when it comes to reviewing Mediterranean restaurants. However, when I asked my server to suggest something, she responded with “chicken shawarma” faster than I could say “recommendation.” Who am I to argue? I ordered a chicken shawarma wrap and expected the best.

I got it with a side of lentil soup, which wasn’t bad, considering lentils have the uncanny ability to make even soup taste dry. The wrap itself was simple — just marinated chicken cooked over an open flame, tomatoes and garlic paste rolled into a fresh pita. The chicken cooked well, and the tomatoes actually contributed flavor — not the watery, mushy sort of tomatoes you’ll find at lesser restaurants and markets. The garlic paste tied everything together.

For $8.75 I might have expected something more substantial, or at least a wider variety of toppings, but we’re talking about a strip mall restaurant in a business park opting for quality ingredients while trying to survive where even fast food fears to tread. If Grenadine can’t find a way to make it here, it’s at least worth noting there’s sister restaurant Amardeen, over by UTC.

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Potted trees separate the patio from the parking lot
Potted trees separate the patio from the parking lot
Place

Grenadine Lebanese and Mediterranean Cuisine

12205 Scripps Poway Parkway, Poway

Work has often brought me to Poway over the past couple of years, so I’ve driven past this strip mall at the intersection of Pomerado and Scripps Poway Parkway at least a hundred times. Maybe two hundred. There’s a gas station there, and a bank. Until recently there was a Carl’s Jr., but it closed. I’d never once noticed a small cluster of restaurants braced against a hillside at the shopping strip’s western corner. I was amazed to discover they exist.

That Carl’s Jr. was the only thing you could see from the street, aside from the pumps of Chevron. If a friggin Carl’s Jr. failed at the front of this location, what chance do the other restaurants have?

I’m hoping Grenadine can make it. The Lebanese eatery opened less than a year ago and has done a splendid job making the interior seem removed from its surroundings. A high ceiling and wide floor plan contribute to a clean, airy atmosphere, and a partially enclosed dining patio has enough decorative flow to ignore the parking lot just beyond it.

Baba ghanoush and a basket of fresh flat bread

Perhaps more importantly, the Mediterranean bistro bakes its own bread. As regular readers might know, I started with baba ghanoush. I’m always on the lookout for a good rendering of this eggplant staple, and Grenadine’s won me over. Though it leans heavily on both garlic and tahini, I devoured the $5.50 half-order without complaint, particularly enjoying the basket of warm pita slices and crispy zaatar-encrusted flatbread that accompanied it.

A little research tells me zaatar gets used on a lot more than just bread and that it often incorporates roasted sesame seeds, thyme, sumac, marjoram, and oregano. While they wouldn’t tell me their recipe here, it definitely starts with thyme and sesame, and the heavy dusting of herbs on the crispy wafers boosted my enjoyment of the ghanoush and tasted great on their own.

A bowl of dry soup and a tasty chicken shawerma wrap

For my main dish, I thought I would escape the baba ghanoush and shawarma rut I seem entrenched in when it comes to reviewing Mediterranean restaurants. However, when I asked my server to suggest something, she responded with “chicken shawarma” faster than I could say “recommendation.” Who am I to argue? I ordered a chicken shawarma wrap and expected the best.

I got it with a side of lentil soup, which wasn’t bad, considering lentils have the uncanny ability to make even soup taste dry. The wrap itself was simple — just marinated chicken cooked over an open flame, tomatoes and garlic paste rolled into a fresh pita. The chicken cooked well, and the tomatoes actually contributed flavor — not the watery, mushy sort of tomatoes you’ll find at lesser restaurants and markets. The garlic paste tied everything together.

For $8.75 I might have expected something more substantial, or at least a wider variety of toppings, but we’re talking about a strip mall restaurant in a business park opting for quality ingredients while trying to survive where even fast food fears to tread. If Grenadine can’t find a way to make it here, it’s at least worth noting there’s sister restaurant Amardeen, over by UTC.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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