Al-Sufara Grills | Suburbs Southwest | Middle Eastern | Restaurant
Standout Middle Eastern worth the trip.

Our Review

This restaurant/butcher shop is the third in the family of owner Yazan Rashed, which also owns a pair in Amman, Jordan. If you're a north-sider grieving the decline of similar spots in Albany Park, Palos Hills seems just about as far—but it's worth the drive. Located in a strip mall, Al-Sufara has a stripped-down interior that underlines a deep focus and commitment to what's really important. There's a flat-screen TV broadcasting a live webcam trained on the pilgrims circling the Kaaba in Mecca. There's a glass display case containing salads to-go and raw kebabs. There are two horizontal shawarma spits spinning over live coals, next to a grill known as a kanoon, a basin also filled with coals, on top of which kebabs, chickens, and lamb chops are grilled. As if that isn't enough visual stimulation, the whole lambs butchered in-house hang behind a window in the walk-in cooler, waiting for their turn under the blade. The ground-beef and lamb skewers take to this treatment remarkably well, remaining juicy and vital. Baby lamb chops, chicken on the bone, or chunky lamb or chicken kebabs arrive at the small scattering of tables on mountains of rice, with charred onions, tomatoes, and peppers, and lots of raw onion dusted in tart sumac. This makes for a remarkable feast, particularly when supplemented with an assortment of salads and appetizers, themselves outstanding: creamy cool hummus and baba ghanoush; the frothy garlic dip toum, like something Ferran Adrià created in the lab; mutabbal, chunky peppers and eggplant enrobed in nutty tahini. The already marvelous nature of these is only enhanced by liberal application of the gratis hot sauce shatta, thick with garlic, carrot, and bright red chile. I'd walk to Palos Height just for a pile of that.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
Payment Type: Cards accepted

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