Suri’s Mediterranean features Mediterranean-American fusion dishes as well as typical middle-eastern fare such as shawarma, falafel and kebobs. The toum, tahini, tea and tantalizing house-made ice cream make for a memorable lunch date.
Warm Ambiance and Friendly Service at Suri’s Mediterranean
The ambiance and décor at Suri’s caught my eye more so than your average fast-casual eatery. Faux stone tile, deep browns, yolk-colored walls and bright blue accents elevate the environment. A cabinet full of antique cameras beckons diners to capture the subtly Mediterranean feel of the restaurant.
A combination of commercially designed and hand-written menus hang in front of the kitchen. Upon my and my wife’s arrival at Suri’s, Aaron Derocher warmly greeted us from behind the ordering counter. He gladly explained menu items and helped us hone in an order fit for two. Derocher’s knowledge of the restaurant’s ingredients and preparation methods was impressive. Despite his primary role as cashier, he also seemed to help out in the kitchen and periodically check on every table in the restaurant.
At my asking, Derocher kindly explained that his employer, Amir Ghafary, is an international restauranteur. Ghafary has owned restaurants in the Canary Islands, Canada and the United States. Many of the recipes prepared at Suri’s hail from Iran where Ghafary has roots.
An Entrée Featuring Garlic, Lemon and Clouds
My wife and I ordered two loose leaf Persian teas at $2 each, loaded fries for $11, the chicken kebob platter for $13 and the stuffed grape leaves for $5.
The tea at Suri’s is well worth the trip alone. My wife and I opted to drink ours hot, but cold was also an option. The tea features cardamom, rose petals, black tea, chai spices and some proprietary ingredients. Derocher brewed the tea just right with no bitter notes. The tea was pleasantly fragrant and wonderfully delicious. Diners can purchase the tea blend in bags to be brewed at home.
The loaded fries included pieces of chicken shawarma, grated mozzarella cheese and tahini drizzle atop well-crisped spuds. The chicken was a touch overcooked, but the charred bits imparted a nice flavor. The mozzarella and tahini created a perfect storm of creamy and savory. Given the presence of lemon, yogurt
The stuffed grape leaves were fantastic. They were stuffed with rice and veggies and drizzled with tahini. The delicate pods of deliciousness were sour, creamy and a dish I’d happily order again.
The chicken kebob platter included a simple salad, house-made hummus, toum (?), two slices of thin pita and marinated chicken atop rice. The rice and chicken were pretty unremarkable. My wife and I agreed that neither included much flavor and the chicken was a bit overdone. The salad included diced cucumber, red onion, chopped romaine and some shredded red cabbage. The produce had a slight pickle to it, and I didn’t mind that it wasn’t dressed. The hummus tasted quite fresh, and we both loved the robust garlic flavor.
I thought the creamy, garlicky, lemony sauce might be toum, but it was lighter and more airy than other renditions of toum in town. I asked Derocher to help me confirm the identity of the sauce.
He explained that it’s made with egg whites, garlic and lemon. He said the sauce is somewhat of a meringue. When I typically think of meringues, I think about air, sugar, flavor extract and egg whites whipped into submission and then baked, broiled or torched.
As I understand it, toum is usually made with raw garlic, salt, lemon juice and a natural oil blended up to create an emulsified sauce not totally unrelated to a mayonnaise or an aioli. The primary difference being that toum doesn’t have any egg yolks.
Given the truly light nature of the lemony, garlicky sauce that accompanied the kebob, I get the comparison to an uncooked meringue. Ultimately, I don’t know if the sauce includes oil. Regardless of the precise ingredients, the mixture of garlic, lemon and clouds was superb.
Don’t Miss Dessert at Suri’s Mediterranean
For dessert, my wife and I shared the house-made baklava for $2.50 and the Persian ice cream for $3.
The baklava included pistachios, walnuts, almonds, granulated sugar, cinnamon and a honey-based simple syrup tucked into layers of filo. I enjoyed that it wasn’t too sweet. I would have liked some more crispy layers, but it was pretty tasty.
The Persian ice cream was fantastic, and it included saffron, rose water, pistachios and vanilla. The saffron imparted a beautiful yellow hue, but it was the rose water that dominated in flavor. Rose water is bitter in some dishes, but the vanilla balanced it perfectly in this one. The pistachios added a nice textural component. Given the opportunity, I’d happily buy a pint of it.
Suri’s Mediterranean Details
Visit Suri’s at 80 Giroux Street on the corner of Giroux St. and 2nd St. in Reno. Call in your take-out order at 775-870-9616. They are open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.