The Chaldean Challenge
Yoshi's menu contains nothing unusual to anyone who has been to a Middle Eastern restaurant--the kebabs, shawarma, falafel, and hummus are all here. Yet Yoshi's does things just a little differently and nearly all from scratch. Its strongest suit is the vegetarian dishes, and its very best dish is the potato curry soup. Tending more toward the Indian in spicing, it is deeply flavored with cumin and chilies. The tabbouli is also very good, with a preponderance of fresh chopped parsley and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. The fattoush salad, romaine tossed with pita chips and dressing, is a standard effort--crisp and fresh but nothing out of the ordinary. Similarly, the falafel is roughly the same as you'd find in most eateries of this genre, but my lunch companion wisely ordered her falafel sandwich with spicy ambar sauce--made with pickled mango, it's like a liquid hot chutney. On platters, you have the option of grilled vegetables or rice. Go for the veggies--onions, squash, and peppers; quickly seared, marked with authentic grill striping, and very flavorful, they're a huge and healthy step up from rice or fries. Food is carefully and appealingly plated; a few weeks in, Yoshi's switched from disposable to reusable dishware.