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EATS: PARADISE FOUND AT NILE DELI
We’ve stopped by the Nile Deli a number of times to buy special olives or cooking supplies, homemade grape leaves and unusual Middle Eastern cheese. On one occasion, I had planned to make hummus and needed tahini. “Don’t try to make it yourself,” said owner Mohamad Farag. “Taste my wife’s. It’s the best.” So, we sampled his wife Azhar’s hummus, bought some and studied the extensive menu board. We decided to return to try her cooking.
The family-owned deli and international market with its hummus-colored walls contains several tables for eating in, two outside, plus a small room with couches for relaxing. With everything fixed fresh to order, the pace is not hurried.
And My Dining Partner and I wanted to try a variety of options.
Knowing the excellence of the hummus, we started with baba ghanoush ($4.99), a favorite eggplant dish. The texture was like a loose weave, and it was well-flavored with garlic, lemon and tahini—a lovely dip for the accompanying pita slices.
We also ordered a bowl of brown lentil soup ($2.99), an incredibly savory mixture of lentils, tomato, garlic, lemon and onions, plus the spicing. Note to self: Order large container to take home the next time.
Next we split a Greek salad ($6.99), garnished with Moroccan and Turkish olives, and luxurious Valbreso cubes of a French/Mediterranean type of feta cheese. The Greek dressing added a light zest.
MDP ordered a gyro sandwich ($4.99) and was surprised and pleased by the uncommon tenderness of the meat and the Greek yogurt, lemon, dill and cucumber sauce that popped with flavor.
Although tempted to try a grape leaves sandwich, I followed Farag’s recommendation of a chicken shawarma ($4.99), which turned out to be outstanding. Tender shredded chicken was marinated in tahini sauce, and served with lettuce, tomato and onion in a large, soft pita wrap.
We also tried chicken pide ($3.99), a calzone-like bread boat stuffed with flavorful marinated chicken. It’s a meld of Italian and Middle Eastern culinary treats and so delicious that I would order it again and again. (And yes, the Nile does make two kinds of calzone, but nothing could top the pide for me.)
Baklava ($3.99) and other sweets offer temptations all their own.
Nile Deli is a delight. Everything we’ve tried so far has been excellent and, fortunately, we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s on the menu board.
What: Nile Deli
Address: 2037 Plank Road, Westwood Shopping Center
Info: 540/373-6688 facebook.com/pages/Nile-International-Market
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
Prices: Appetizers: $2.99–$6.99; Soups and salads: $2.99–$8.99; Sandwiches: $4.99; Dinners: $3.99–$14.99; Desserts: $2.99–$3.99
The Scoop: Family-owned, friendly, helpful service. Small seating area inside and out. Takeout and catering available. Vegetarian options.
Payment: Major credit cards accepted.