|© John Copley|
La Shish and I go back a long way--to the 1980s, when it was a single Dearborn lunch counter. After moving to Ann Arbor in '93, I often trekked to the growing chain's outlets in Canton or Livonia, frequently suggesting to any manager who'd listen that Ann Arbor needed a franchise. Charlie Bazzi's version (now under new ownership as Palm Palace, and still La Shish quality) arrived in town just before the La Shish empire crashed on accusations of the owner's tax fraud and links to Hezbollah.
La Shish achieved something extraordinary--popularizing an authentic foreign cuisine without compromising quality. And by now, enough time has elapsed that former La Shish managers Abe Tarini and Mike Ibrahim didn't feel shy about bringing it all back at Sheesh Mediterranean Cuisine.
For this second act, they're using the same kebab-on-a-skewer logo with bright green lettering, many of the same menu items, and, most importantly, the same recipes and customers-are-royalty attitude. Their storefront on North Main is less lavish than the suburban La Shish palaces, but the smaller size brings an intimacy that heightens the feeling that you're getting an extraordinary gift with this fresh, bountiful, and reliably delicious food.
It starts with the most familiar appetizers--hummus that's creamy and dreamy, smooth and perfectly spiced, served alone or dressed up with pine nuts, vegetables, or meat; baba ghanoush that's pungent but never too bitter or smoky; and tabouli that literally shines--the parsley is as bright green as the Sheesh logo, and it's reliably fresh and tangy. I like to stuff it in the freshly baked pitas. Sheesh, unfortunately, lacks the open-hearth oven to make theirs puffy enough to easily form a pocket, but the sesame seeds on top and the accompanying salsa are nice pluses.
Even if you think you're not ordering much food, plan on a doggie bag. The portions range from generous fattoush and dinner salads and pita sandwiches to ginormous entrees. Lunch specials include a sandwich (all the usual choices
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