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Monday October 20, 2014
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The Chaldean Challenge

 

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Best among the chicken dishes is the kebab platter, nice lean pieces of breast meat with a sort of lemony flavor; worst is chicken kufta kebab, minced chicken on a stick, grilled and dry. (I love that Yoshi's offers half or full portions on salads and platters; the halves were plentiful enough for me.) Yoshi's beef shawarma has deeper flavor from spit-roasting, but it, too, was less than succulent. Still, I liked it better than the chicken shawarma, which is basically chicken breast broiled and thinly sliced--not bad, but not the big-flavor footprint I'd hoped for. If you have your heart set on meat, its shortcomings could be offset with either the ambar sauce or the garlic sauce. Be prepared for the latter, which packs a heftier allium kick than any Middle Eastern garlic sauce in my memory.

The large staff, often outnumbering patrons, seemed occasionally daunted by the challenges of a new restaurant and fiddled endlessly with things like the register system. Service was extremely polite and genuinely friendly, though somewhat slow and occasionally rough--not bringing enough silverware to the table, for example (when we pointed it out, they brought us free baklava by way of apology). Service improved with each visit, thanks in large part to owner and namesake, Yasir "Yoshi" Kaskorkis, who conscientiously looks in on all the guests and makes great efforts to take care of people and respond to their comments.

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