Tough to see the rice or chicken under the sauce
I like saucy Mediterranean food, so when I saw a fairly new booth offering just that at a local farmers’ market, I bit. Ibo’s Mediterranean Cuisine is named for its founder and chef Ibrahim Aladogan, a young dude with experience cooking for restaurants in such exotic locations as Italy, England, and Coronado.
Ibo the chef at work in his farmers’ market rice station
Ibo’s “rice station” was serving gyros featuring a choice of steak, chicken, or veggie patty, all advertised as organic, natural, and preservative free. For ten bucks I went for the same selection of ingredients served over a bed of seasoned rice with a side salad. More importantly, the rice and protein was slathered with two kinds of sauce — one a thick tomato sauce and one a yogurt.
Ibo gave me the option to combine meats, so I went with a mix of chicken and veg. The chicken had been heavily grilled and chopped into small, dry pieces, but neither the flavor nor texture mattered all that much because the heavy dose of two sauces saturated the dish, providing plenty of tangy, savory coverage. Surprisingly, the grilled veggie patties stood out over the chicken. I’m not typically one to choose vegetables over meat, but the mostly zucchini-and-onion patties offered a pleasing flavor and texture that would have held their own even without the sauce.
Not that I really want to test that theory. Like the veggie patties themselves, these sauces were simple yet tasty, excelling in the street-food genre even if the chicken was nothing to write home about.
Watch out for Ibo’s booth, which frequents the farmers’ markets of North Park, Pacific Beach, and Little Italy, as well as the new one at Waterfront Park. If you’re looking to eat on the spot, you’ll probably want to go with the finger-friendly gyro. But if you have a chance to sit down and eat, the extra dousing of sauce over the umami of the rice is the way to go.