Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shamaim / シャマイム

Yep, here is the main reason why I decided to walk around Ekoda. Shamaim, the only Israeli restaurant in Tokyo. I had been here once before many many years ago, and since Middle Eastern cuisine is my favorite, I decided to treat myself. Back in my University days, I went to a a Lebanese restaurant called the Sahara and was hooked. Dejaj mashwi became my favorite dish (char-broiled chicken marinated in lemon and garlic and topped with a garlic sauce). And the meal was served with lentil soup, Lebanese salad which uses a lot of lemon and mint, and pita bread which you could dip into humus (a sesame paste). Whenever asked what my Last Supper would be, this would always be my answer. Anyway, this restaurant has an all-you-can-eat menu for lunch which I chose. But it's not your regular type of an all-you-can-eat buffet. At this restaurant, you are served a few dishes at a time. If you want more of a particular dish, you ask the waitress and the cook will make more so no foods simmering on warmers. And it's all delicious. Lunch may seem a little pricy at 2100yen but the sheer volume of the food more than makes up for it. For those of you not familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, let me take you on a short little tour.


Shamaim Soup (Spicy Tomato and Chick Peas) / シャマイムスープ (スパイシートマトとひよこ豆)

I was first served a soup. The Shamaim soup was spicy tomatoes with chick peas. It wasn't the lentil soup I was expecting but quite tasty.


Humus / フムス

A must for Middle Eastern cuisine - humus. This is a paste made with tahini (sesame butter) with chick peas, a bit of lemon and some olive oil. Great for dipping your pita bread in.

中近東料理に吹かせない料理と言えば‐フムス。これはタヒニ (胡麻バター)とひよこ豆のペースト。ピタパンでディップして大変美味しいでございます。

Tahini (sesame paste) / タヒニ (胡麻ペースト)

Also great for dipping your pita bread in. Personally I think the humus has more flavor. And I was just a little disappointed that the restaurant didn't serve baba ganoush (another dip made from eggplant).


Assorted Vegetables / 野菜の盛り合わせ

Next came a plate of various vegetables. From the top of the plate and going clockwise, I was presented with spicy carrots, cabbage & dill, mushrooms & onions, and spicy tomato & garlic. I think the tomato & garlic might be habit forming.


Falafel & Chicken Schnitzel / ファラフェルとチキンシニッツエル

Not a very good picture but falafels are the meat patties made with chick peas and fava beans. A very common dish in the Middle East. Shamaim's menu states that the chicken dish is chicken schnitzel, even if schnitzel is originally an Austrian dish. Perhaps some Germans may disagree though.


Spicy Salad / スパイシーサラダ

I'm not sure what they used for their dressing but it was tart and delicious. It was unlike the Lebanese salad I had at the Sahara in Seattle but I could get used to this as well.


Pita Pockets / ピタパン

Aside from dipping the pita bread into the humus or tahini, you could fill the pockets with the falafels and vegetables and have a mini pita sandwich as well.


Home-made Potato Fries / 自家製フライドポテト

Lamb Shishkabob & Chicken Shishlik / ラムシシカバブとチキンシシリック

Ah, my favorite Middle Eastern dishes - kabobs! You are served both lamb and chicken over a bed of majadra (rice with lentils). As you can tell from the pictures above, the sheer volume of the course is unbelievable. And as this course is the all-you-can-eat menu, you could re-order any of the items pictured above. I was quite full by this time but wanting to get my money's worth, I decided to order some chicken skewers!


More chicken / チキンの追加分

This is what my table looked like, and yes, it was lunch for one (and not all the items were brought yet).

これが僕のテーブルです。そう、これが一人前 (そして全品がまだ出されてない)。

Bon Appetit!


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