Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three great strip-mall restaurants

One of Tyler Cowen’s six rules for dining out: “Get out of the city and into the strip mall.” In that spirit, I want to recommend three strip-mall restaurants that offer great food for vegans, vegetarians, and ominvores alike. If ever you’re in the appropriate strip mall:

Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen, 1206 E. 53rd Street, Chicago. I can recommend the hummus, stuffed grape leaves, red-lentil soup, eggplant stew, and seafood kebab.

Golden Harbor Chinese Restaurant, 505 S. Neil Street, Champaign, Illinois. Two menus: one American and one Chinese, the latter also available in English translation. The Chinese-menu dishes are drier and tend to showcase one ingredient. The Chinese-menu shrimp with garlic, for instance, has bamboo, water chestnuts, and red pepper but no broccoli, carrots, pea pods, or brown sauce. One revelation: the Chinese-menu hot and sour soup, which is lighter and hotter than the American version, and teeming with egg, pork, scallions, and tofu. It might be a meal in itself. The Chinese-menu dishes and round tables with Lazy Susans make the Golden Harbor ideal for large groups.

Istanbul Café, 1450 W. 86th Street, Indianapolis. I can recommend the appetizer sampler (babaganoush, dolma, fried eggplant in tomato sauce, ezme, hummus, tabouli), stuffed cabbage rolls, shish kebab, and Turkish coffee. The Turkish coffee is especially nice if you have a long drive home from Indianapolis.

If you know a great strip-mall restaurant, please, share it in the comments.

[I played Tyler Cowen at a chess tournament in Passaic, New Jersey, almost forty years ago. He should have won, but I managed to eke out a draw. You’ll have to take my word for it.]

comments: 3

Diane Schirf said...

I recommend the Nile on 55th Street, although I'm not sure it's in a strip mall.

Matt Thomas said...

Way to bury the lede. I want to hear more about this chess match.

Michael Leddy said...

Here’s the restaurant Diane has recommended.

Matt, all I remember is that we each played some good moves and some careless ones. I used to record all my tournament games, but I think the record of this one is long gone.