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Collegian Culinary Critique: Petra Grill

Petra Grill is one of the many restaurants off of W Elizabeth Street, just west of campus. Inside is an interesting blend of both modern architecture and traditional Middle-Eastern decor. The tables were made out of stone, possibly granite, and were surrounded by black booths and chairs, which looked classy. It was well lit inside, and Middle-Eastern music was playing in the background. In one corner there was a fountain softly bubbling surrounded by black leather armchairs. On the walls and around the restaurant there were traditional decorations such as rugs, instruments, decorative plates, lamps and a small turtle statue. There were also pictures of famous Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern locations on the walls.

The service was excellent. My waiter was very courteous and professional. He refilled my water and checked in frequently.

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I started with Falafel appetizer, which was fried chickpeas mixed with parsley, onions and cilantro. The Falafel arrived quickly after I ordered. It came warm and was crispy on the outside. The insides of the Falafel was smooth and fluffy, and had a savory spice flavor. It came with a dipping sauce, but it tasted bitter, so I thought the Falafel was better without it. It was a tasty appetizer.

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I ordered the Chicken Shawarma and Gryo entrees, two of the more popular Mediterranean dishes to try, which came quickly after the appetizer.

The Chicken Shawarma came with chicken, rice, a salad and sauce on the side. The chicken was lean and pan fried, though some pieces were cooked a little too much. The chicken had a mild lemon flavor but was also slightly sweet. The rice was super soft and fluffy, and I was surprised by how good it was. The rice also had a slight sweetness to it. The sauce was overpowered with what seemed like garlic, so I didn’t try much of it. The salad had tomatoes, celery and onions on lettuce. It had an herby taste from the spices sprinkled on top and was also a little bitter, which might have been from the lettuce.

The rice and chicken were delicious, though some of the chicken was a bit too cooked. I wasn’t a huge fan of the salad, and the side sauce was too strong.

The flatbread of the gyro had a good consistency, being soft but solid. The gyro had hummus spread on the inside of the flatbread, which was something I hadn’t experienced before. The hummus was smooth and added to the gyro. There was plenty of gyro meat, which wasn’t fatty or dry. It was topped with tomatoes, lettuce and onions, which tasted fresh. A side of tzatziki sauce was served with the gyro. The tzatziki sauce had mint in it, which was something else I hadn’t experienced before. The taste of mint and cucumber were very apparent in the sauce and were really tasty, though it was a bit chunky. The tzatziki sauce went well with the gyro, and they were both tasted delicious.

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For dessert, I ordered Baklava. It came quickly after placed my order and was warm when it arrived. The Baklava was sweet, but it wasn’t overly sweet, and it had a really nice, smooth flavor. It was a bit chewy and not very flaky, however, it was still delicious.

Petra Grill feels like a very authentic restaurant based on the food and decor, and the service was welcoming and earnest. The food is delicious, though some dishes may be a preferential taste. The food is just a bit on the more expensive side, but it seems to be priced fairly with the quality of the food.

Scorecard:

Food: 4 Stars

Atmosphere: 5 Stars

Service: 5 Stars

Price: 4 Stars

Total Score: 4.5 Stars

The clean-cut, covert culinary critique and Collegian writer Capelli D’angelo can be reached at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @Capelli_Dangelo. Leave a comment!!

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