April 2017 Magazines - Page 74

Haute Spot A Decade of Good Crazy Pita Rotisserie & Grill By Aly Wagonseller MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO, MEHDI ZARHLOUL realized his dream of opening up a fast, casual restaurant that brought the flavors of his Moroccan childhood to the Vegas valley. Originally tucked behind a strip mall located on busy Horizon Ridge Dr. in Henderson, this self pro- claimed, “king of the pita”, founded a brand of quality, Mediterranean eateries synonymous with fresh flavors, friendly service and reasonable prices. And, despite the ups and downs of the volatile hospitality business, Crazy Pita restaurants successfully expanded, offering up locations in Downtown Summerlin (10975 Sage Park Dr. #100) and Town Square (6587 So. Las Vegas Blvd. #190), in addition to the District at Green Valley Ranch (2225 Village Walk Dr. #15); a location many consider the pita mother ship. Although Crazy Pita has been a go-to for many years, (I even ate in the tiny, original spot that you’d only have found if in the know), the food is still every bit as good as it was then – albeit with a few new options thrown in, and a story of community do-gooding that gives this local entrepreneur a special place in the hearts of many. 74 I’m a creature of habit when ordering off the extensive menu of Pita Wraps, Rotisserie Chicken, Skewer Plates and Salads. Almost without fail, I have the Mediterranean Salad chock full of chopped romaine lettuce, cucumber and roast- ed vegetables that include bell peppers, cauliflower and arti- choke hearts. The vegetables are always perfectly prepared, with crispy cucumber and briny Greek olives adding texture and saltiness, and a light vinaigrette providing the ideal acidic accompaniment to the veggies. And, despite other protein and vegetarian options, without a second thought, I add a skewer of Kefta; aggressively seasoned little patties of ground beef that are nicely caramelized yet juicy, the fra- grant flavors of cumin, garlic and coriander making for an irresistible combo. A side of warm and pillowy pita comes alongside, as well as creamy hummus and taziki to cool the palate. Sometimes, if I’m really hungry, I venture out, order- ing their silky, smoky flavored Eggplant Dip or a helping of April/May 2017 Chicken and Lentil soup, a rich and comforting dish with just the perfect amount of spice. It is then that all is well in the universe. But sometimes change is good, and despite old habits dying hard, with the addition of “Make your Own Plate” options recently added to the menu, I can pick and choose between proteins and side dishes to create my own unique concoc- tion of flavors. A steal at $10.99, choose one portion of Grilled Steak, Chicken, Kefta, Lamb, Shrimp, Braised Leg of Lamb, Shrimp, Salmon, Rotisserie Chicken, Vegetables or Falafel, along with three side dishes. Sides are diverse, rang- ing from Hummus and Grape Leaves to a variety of Salads, Vegetable Couscous, Fries, Soup and more. I’ve sampled them all, but favorites included a delightfully spiced salmon made with paprika, cumin, and turmeric and accompanied with lentils that exhibited just the right textural bite; nicely done tiger shrimp serv