Khoury's Mediterranean Island
First, the coolest thing: they have a hookah bar!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a smoker or a fan of smoking, but if you’re going to smoke, smoke out of a hookah at a Mediterranean restaurant. You might as well do it in style.
But that’s not why I was there. I was there for the Mediterranean food.
You get a visual cue of what’s to come because you enter through Khoury’s “market” – a small space packed with Mediterranean delicacies to buy and take home, such as pine nuts, rice, confections, coffee, oil, olives, and lots of other treats. The market is attached to the dining room, which is moderately sized and comfortable, with an elaborate (not working) fountain along the wall. Greek music plays through the speakers overhead. With enough people and alcohol, it feels like traditional Greek dancing could break out.
We started with a few glasses of wine. I had the house white wine – a passable Talus chardonnay for a bargain $4.75. (By comparison, Dave ordered a Penfold’s Shiraz, which seemed a little steep at $7.75 a glass). They had a limited selection of other Greek wines (dubious) and a few California standards as well. The beer list is fun, and includes Mediterranean specialties like Athenian, Marathon, Efes, and Keo, as well as Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Lindemann’s Framboise, and some basic American standbys.
And they have a hookah bar!
Khoury’s has a lot of the typical Mediterranean appetizers like flaming cheese, hummus, and baba ghannooj. Dave and I went a little more exotic, trying the Bastermai ($8.95) – sun dried beef strips served with pepperoncini, kalamata olives, and pickled daikon radish. The dried beef looked like prosciutto but tasted beefy and heavily spiced with salt and cumin. It was delicious.
We also ordered the Kibby Niyah ($8.95) – raw ground beef mixed with cracked wheat and spices. The presentation is less than appetizing – it’s basically raw hamburger smashed out on a plate with raw onions sprinkled on top. (It reminded me of that giant hamburger that John Cusack made in the movie “Better Off Dead” – right before it came to life and started singing Van Halen songs.) The beef had a strong flavor of raw onions and black pepper. This is one of those delayed-effect dishes where you’re not blown away at first, but then you find that you can’t stop eating it. It was really good spread over a piece of hot fresh pita bread that came out with our appetizers. The appetizers were $8.95 each.
The menu offers a lot of entrees, with plenty for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Most entrees are in the $15-$17 range. I ordered the famous magic chicken. Billed as the house specialty with fourteen different spices blended together with tomato sauce, the half chicken was really dry and overcooked. I’ve had the magic chicken before and it was damn tasty; tonight, however, was not the chicken’s night. The creamy garlic sauce served on the site was excellent, and helped add moisture to the dried out chicken. Most entrees are served with plump-grained flavored rice, long-cooked green beans with slivered roasted almonds, and your choice of steamed veggies or Greek-style potatoes. It’s a lot of food.
Dave got the entrée-sized Greek salad--a big plate heaped with iceberg lettuce, gyro meat, kalamata olives, cucumbers, feta cheese, and some really fantastic vinegar-and-oil dressing. The feta and the dressing really make the salad, but the real hero is the gyro meat, which I often don’t like (too gamey, too greasy). The meat that topped this salad was nicely chewy and wonderfully fragrant.
There are a lot of choices here. Some other entrees are gyros, dolmathes (rice and ground beef wrapped in grape leaves), pasticchio (Greek comfort food: macaroni and ground beef covered in egg and cheese sauce), and lamb. Khoury’s also offers the full range of kabobs: ground round, chicken, beef, lamb, and portabella.
For those who like their meat straight-up, you can also order a plain old strip steak, filet, or salmon filet.
Don’t forget about the hookah bar!
I recommend ending the meal with the dessert menu – not dessert, necessarily, but the dessert menu. Most of the pictures look like medical photos. The rice pudding looked like a filmstrip I saw in 9th grade of the process of mitosis. I’m sure the desserts (halva, baklava, tira misu, the aforementioned mitosis rice pudding) are better than the pictures make them look.
Khoury’s has a children’s menu (mini gyros, chicken strips, hamburgers and the lowly hotdog) and a pretty good vegetarian menu that includes spanakopita, falafel, and eggplant casserole.
Our server didn’t seem that familiar with the menu, but he was attentive and tried to be helpful. The whole meal was well paced.
Did I mention the hookah bar?
1850 E. Broad Ripple Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
(317) 251 - 8610
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