Medina Mediterranean Grill Now Open Downtown

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Beef-shawarma salad with romaine, spring mix, tomato, onion, pickle, cucumber, pickled turnips, chickpeas and tahini dressing. | Photos by Mabel Suen
  • Beef-shawarma salad with romaine, spring mix, tomato, onion, pickle, cucumber, pickled turnips, chickpeas and tahini dressing. | Photos by Mabel Suen

Medina Mediterranean Grill (1327 Washington Avenue; 314-241-1356) opened on April 6, offering Middle Eastern cuisine downtown. The fast-casual restaurant fills the space formerly occupied by Gelateria Tavolini, with enough seats inside for two-dozen guests. In addition to vegetarian-friendly options including sandwiches filled with falafel or hummus, the concept features traditional shawarma as well as modern takes on the popular street-food-style plates.

Owner Ibrahim Ead (left) and manager Arafat Ead (right) with their grandmother.
  • Owner Ibrahim Ead (left) and manager Arafat Ead (right) with their grandmother.

"Medina means city. With our menu, we try to take different styles from different cities from the Mid-East to North Africa," says owner Ibrahim Ead.

Ead's family previously owned and operated a west-county deli and bodega named Salam Market (still open, it's been under different ownership for a few years). At Medina, Ead continues the tradition with his brothers, Arafat and Sharif, cooking up a small menu of specialties in an open kitchen.

Their house favorite, "Original Palestine" shawarma sandwich ($6.50), begins with marinated beef or chicken, cooked on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is shaved from the spit and then cooked on a grill with additional spices before getting piled atop fluffy pita bread with vegetables and tahini sauce. The same proteins are also available atop the "Shawarma Salad" ($4.50 for a half; $6.75 for a whole) with greens, pickles and chickpeas.

The "Original Palestine," or chicken shawarma with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, tahini sauce and added chile sauce.
  • The "Original Palestine," or chicken shawarma with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, tahini sauce and added chile sauce.

According to Ead, these two dishes serve as a proper introduction to the restaurant's offerings. More adventurous options are the fusion sandwiches he created to blend his Palestinian and American heritage. Look for "Summer in Dubai" ($6.50) with chicken shawarma, pepper-jack cheese, tomato and chipotle sauce, as well as the "Juicy Jerusalem" ($6.50) with chicken shawarma, marinated onions, roasted red peppers, provolone and pesto-basil sauce -- both served on toasted French bread.

Additional salad options include the "Moroccan Spring" ($4.50 for half; $6.75 for whole) with romaine, spring mix, cranberries, feta, toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette, as well as the "C'zar" ($4.25 for half; $6.50 for whole) with romaine, chicken shawarma, parmesan, croutons and Caesar dressing.

Located on Washington Avenue.
  • Located on Washington Avenue.

Combos include any sandwich with a half-salad for $9.95 (add falafel or chips and a drink to any sandwich for $3). Baklava and brownies are also available for dessert. Medina Mediterranean Grill's current hours are Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the Medina Mediterranean Grill Facebook page.

Click through for more photos.

The "Original Palestine" comes served wrapped up and ready to eat.
  • The "Original Palestine" comes served wrapped up and ready to eat.
The dining area.
  • The dining area.
Ibrahim Ead in the kitchen.
  • Ibrahim Ead in the kitchen.
Another look at the shawarma salad.
  • Another look at the shawarma salad.
The menu.
  • The menu.
Brothers Sharif and Arafat Ead in the kitchen.
  • Brothers Sharif and Arafat Ead in the kitchen.
Now open downtown.
  • Now open downtown.

See also: - First Look: Antonio's Bistro & Market - First Look: Tony's A.M. - First Look: The Q-Shack - First Look: Red Lotus Spa & Bistro

E-mail the author at mabel.suen@riverfronttimes.com.


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