mmm-yoso is not on vacation; Kirk is. Cathy will be playing His part on the blog today. ed (from Yuma) is unavailable.
There is another new Mediterranean place near SDSU. It is East of College Avenue on the South side of El Cajon Boulevard. One of few places open late in San Diego (until 2 a.m Sun-Thurs and until 4 a.m. Fri-Sat), you'll see it if you are driving in the evening.
During the day, you may not notice, since it is in a strip mall ( next to the check cashing place).
Not very large, very clean, with an overhead menu...you order, pay, have a seat and your food is brought out.
We started with a falafel appetizer ($5.95) (the online menu has changed). These were good. Now that I have had 'real' falafel, made with fresh (not powdered) chickpeas, I look for something superior to the falafel I consider to be the best. The falafel here come in second; I have to do more research. Falafel here are light on the interior, with a good garlic and parsley flavor, light yet crispy fried exterior and not greasy. Served with the fresh (lemony-light garlic) hummus on the plate, I have no complaints.
The gyros plate, with a side of lentil soup (~$9). An excellent rice, Basmati, cooked with toasted angelhair vermicelli and gently flavored with turmeric and something making the rice taste buttery-rich and fresh parsley. The gyros meat was sliced thick and was excellent in taste and in portion size.
The lentil soup. Oh. My. Goodness. Yes, goodness. There was some vermicelli in the soup and it was thick (in a good way) with lentils (both red and green) and vegetables. The deep, rich flavors made me want to be certain to just order this as a side next time I drop in.
A combo plate with a beef Kufta kabob (~$9) and salad. The salad was fresh with cucumber, radish slices and red and yellow bell peppers and a good oil/vinegar/herb dressing. The kabob had a great flavor of spices. I think it was zatar (tarragon, sumac and sesame) but also tasted some cumin and maybe ginger...anyway, it was good, juicy, moist but not greasy. Both of the plates were served with a plate of plain (not baked here) pita bread.
I have been on the lookout for a fresh baked bread, ever since going to Alforon with ed (from Yuma) and Tina and The Mister in December (hmm, one of us needs to post on that). This was just standard pita. However, all the other food was on the edge of excellent and all the food was very fresh.
The Mister had ordered without any beverage, and I asked for a Turkish coffee ($2.50) to sort of have for dessert...The nice young lady ordered it from the Hookah Lounge a few doors down and brought it to our table. A very fresh, excellent cup of Turkish coffee.
The website states they use the "freshest organic produce and meats available". The menu inside has breakfast items, and we will be going back to try those.
Abraj Mediterranean Restaurant 6475 El Cajon Boulevard 92115 (619) 255-3566 Open 10 am, closes 2 am Sun-Th, closes 4 am, Fri-Sat Website (may have old prices)