Beik Mediterranean Grill, 2747 S Hulen St, FW. 817-924-2749. 11am-9pm Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Fort Worth can be a fickle restaurant town. Even on the broad stretches of South Hulen Street where there’s a relatively balanced mix of retail, office space, and neighborhood eateries, if you’re a restaurateur in an unfortunate location, you end up swimming with the fishes. Beik Mediterranean Grill is owned by the same family who owned Inzo’s Italian Kitchen, which had the ill-starred luck of being located next to the mega-popular Tavern. Instead of retooling the Inzo’s menu, the owners chose an about-face with a full sampling of Mediterranean eats, pizzas, and salads.
Sadly, there was no way to get all the good Greek/Lebanese appetizers all at once without ordering half the menu, but the starter combo featured hummus, tabouli, and baba ghanoush. The plate was composed of three small ramekins of each — a lovely touch if our table of three had issues with one food running into another. As it was, the presentation was a bit off-putting, with three bowls and a basket of pita for dipping. The hummus was creamy, unfussy, and slightly bland. The tabouli was deliciously fresh, but, like most versions of the parsley/onion/tomato starter, it was mostly parsley. The baba ghanoush was the winner in the series of three — the smoky, chunky, thick eggplant dip was bowl-licking good. The pita bread was a little flat, more like what comes from a grocery store than something housemade.
An appetizer-sized portion of falafel — four fried ping-pong balls of fava beans, chick peas, and proprietary spices — tasted amazing. It came right out of the fryer (beware of that first lava-hot bite), but it wasn’t greasy. The menu disclaims that the falafel includes cilantro in the mix, but we couldn’t taste any. The dish came with a mild, watery tahini sauce and delightfully tart pickles. Ironically, the hummus made a much better dipping sauce than the thin tahini.
The gyro plate entrée started with a pleasantly untraditional Caesar salad with pita croutons and feta cheese subbing for the customary Parmesan. The tasty dressing was mostly faithful to the classic recipe, and it had an appreciably tart bite. The plentiful serving of beef/lamb gyro blend was flavored with a slightly sweet mélange of spices. The meal included another basket of pita bread, which was thick and fluffy, totally different and much tastier than the bread that accompanied the appetizer. The tzatziki sauce was about as good as it gets. I describe tzatziki and pita on a rating scale of acceptable to “as good as The Greek House,” and Beik’s versions of both approach the highest end of my scale.
The grilled salmon filet was char-grilled, cut into thick slices, and stacked on the plate like Jenga pieces. The fish might have been overcooked a tad, but it wasn’t dry. A searing hot wood grill gave the fish a lovely subtle flavor and a slightly crispy skin. Both entrées were accompanied by a mild, almost sweet saffron rice, which remained mostly untouched. Ask for extra veggies or a side of the baba ghanoush instead.
Beik’s special pizza included a dizzying amalgam of tomato sauce, eggplant, mozzarella, goat cheese, and basil, all covered in a drizzle of sweet-tart balsamic vinegar. The eggplant was thinly sliced and perfectly grilled, and the overall effect was a sublime balance of sweet, sour, and tart. Pizza is available with traditional or gluten-free crust. Gluten-free bread or crust can be a crapshoot, because leaving the wheat gluten out means that the texture of the finished product might suffer. But Beik’s non-wheat base made a fine thin-crust pizza — probably helped along by the traditional pizza oven, a remnant of Inzo’s.
A shared order of tiramisu seemed like a nice way to end the meal. It was extremely moist, which is not uncommon for the confection. But the middle coffee-soaked layer was verging on soggy, and the cream top had very little flavor at all.
The service at Beik was solicitous without being pushy. Weekdays there’s a lunch buffet — and it would be dangerous to have all you could eat of the baba ghanoush and the tzatziki.
Beik Mediterranean Grill,
Starter combo plate $10.99
Gyro plate $11.99
Gluten-free pizza $15