Word-o-Rama

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Posted August 2, 2006 by Chow, Baby in Eats

Chow, Baby learned a new word! Mutabel (aka moutabel, muttabel) is a roasted-eggplant dip that’s a lot like baba ghannouj, except creamier, spicier, and easier to spell. It was one of the delicious sides on Chow, Baby’s lamb-kebab plate ($7.29) at Rama’s Mediterranean Grill (502 W. Randol Mill Rd., Arlington).


Also Chow, Baby had always thought that “falafel” was Arabic for hockey puck, but at Rama’s, the chick-pea patties (3/$1) – which many places deep-fry to rock-hardness -were yielding and fresh-tasting inside their crunchy crust. Even in a pita sandwich ($1.99), competing with tomato and fresh-made cucumber sauce, the falafel delivered a nutty burst of garlic and mint. Perhaps “falafel” is actually Arabic for “breath freshener,” because Chow, Baby’s mouth sure tasted good after that.

Rama’s is in a former Sonic, and though it’s weird to pull into one of the angled parking slots without ordering from the car, and even weirder to actually get up and go inside, the building’s past life is forgotten as soon as you enter. It’s not fancy – the menu’s on the wall and you order from the counter – but it’s spanking clean, the staff is helpful and friendly, and everything served here is delicious. In addition to juicy chunks of flame-grilled meat, Chow, Baby’s lamb plate held a pillow of rice and the smoothest, lightest hummus ever. A chicken shwarma sandwich ($3.99) was a pita-stuffed delight, and a small Greek salad ($2.99) was a perfect balance of cool, crisp, and tingly. Just one disappointment: The gyro meat, though tasty, is the prepackaged, presliced stuff – owner Gus Farrah says he doesn’t yet have enough customers to justify a traditional meat-spit contraption. Word from Chow, Baby: That’s a problem he won’t have for long.

New Drew’s Review

Drew’s Place (5701 Curzon Ave., off Camp Bowie) is one of Chow, Baby’s favorite soul-food restaurants, well worth the schlep to the west side of Fort Worth for the juicy fried chicken, spicy catfish, smothered pork chops, and killer desserts. If only Drew Thomas would open a Place on the East Side, Chow, Baby often prayed, hurrying to get home to the couch before sugar-and-starch coma set in. Prayer answered: The second Drew’s Place is now open at 5012 E. Rosedale St. And it’s much like the old – a spiffed-up house on the edge of an unspiffy neighborhood, stocked with happy customers, welcoming staff, and soul-satisfying food.

And lots of it. The large dose of spicy catfish fillets ($9.99), with housemade tartar sauce that tasted like whipped deviled eggs, was twice as much as Chow, Baby’s hungry-man companion could eat. Here’s how big the smothered pork chop plate ($7.59) is: It takes up two plates. And that’s the small portion. The two thickly battered chops – three on the “large” plate – fall apart if you even look at them, thanks to the velvety brown gravy they were simmered in. Except for the ultra-buttery mashed potatoes, though, the sides were oomphless; macaroni & cheese, red beans & rice, and yams were bland disappointments. Thankfully, though, the desserts rose to the standards set by the original Drew’s: After sharing a huge slice of pecan pie ($2.39) and peach-packed cobbler ($1.99), Chow, Baby was very glad its napping couch was only a neighborhood away.

Contact Chow, Baby at chowbaby@fwweekly.com.

 


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