Fine Diving: Baba’s Shawarma Grill

If scorched earth is not the heat index you generally associate with Mediterranean food, then you’ve never tried the spicy gyro at Baba’s Shawarma Grill.

Kebabs
Kebabs

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Sure, they serve the lamb classic, but the spicy, with the addition of grilled onions and peppers, plus a homemade hot pepper sauce, will leave you crying for more. (Pro tip: Get a side or two of tzatziki sauce—the cooling yogurt helps neutralize the heat.) I’m sure it was a surprise to owner Ned Musaitif that the spicy gyro was so quick to catch on, but then at a place deep in the wilds of the west side—where the Americanized beef shawarma outsells the traditional chicken two to one—patron’s tastes tend to favor those of their own culture rather than Musaitif’s.

Baba's Shawarma Grill
Tabbouleh salad

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

But never fear, you can still sample an amazing array of Mediterranean staples. Think house-made hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel, kefta kebabs (spiced ground beef wrapped with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini), tabbouleh salad, and Greek fries (topped with feta cheese and Greek dressing). You’d expect food that’s fast at an old Captain D’s Seafood location, but what you might not expect are the more upscale platters laden with lamb chops, butterflied shrimp, or chicken Kalaya with okra in a hearty tomato sauce. There’s a lot of tradition here with a dash of the unexpected. Do yourself a favor and dig into a little of both.

Baba’s Shawarma Grill, 4028 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, (513) 827-9143, Lunch and dinner seven days.

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