I’m always up for trying a new Mediterranean joint, even if it is a bit of a drive. Taz Lebanese & Greek Cuisine (8950 Governors Way, Mason, 513-774- 7600) is right smack in the middle of the Fields Ertle insanity in a building that used to house Fazoli’s.
The owners haven’t changed much about the exterior of the building at this point, but the interior is clothed in Middle Eastern textures, colors and musical background. The servers and my companions were the most un-ethnic thing about the place, except maybe a couple of the menu offerings like chicken wings and fajitas (OK, ethnic maybe, but not Middle Eastern). Other diners had an international aura that made me envious. At least I could live vicariously through my dining choices.
We started with coffee (American; while they have Turkish, the sugar is too rich for my blood), Grape Leaves ($5.50) and the Pickles Starter ($2.95). The mint in the grape leaves didn’t agree with my step-dad’s palate, but my brother liked them with the tziki sauce. Me? I could’ve slurped down the warm, rice-filled packets naked in one gulp — the grape leaves that is.
The pickles starter went over well with everyone. It came with a mix of Mediterranean pickles made from cucumbers, turnips and eggplant and green and Kalamata olives.
For our main lunch items we ordered a small Gyro Pizza with green peppers, black olives and onions ($9.95), the Beef Shawarma Sandwich ($7.50) — which is similar to a gyro, with delicious, lightly fried French fries — and a Falafel Sandwich ($4.25).
We still hadn’t gotten our coffee at this point, and when I asked the server, he said they were making it. While I liked the idea of fresh coffee, the server should have told us to expect the delay. When it didarrive it was strong and black. I had fantasies of it being some nonsweet version of the Turkish until he revealed to my step-dad that it was Folgers. Who would of thought!
The pizza was very good. While my brother avoided lamb-based items on the menu because he (the guy who hunts deer and eats it) thought lamb tasted gamey. But I think he might have liked the gyro meat at Taz. A mixture of lamb and beef, it was flavorful without being too strong.
The falafel came with tomato, parsley, Tahini sauce and more of those delicious pickles — an ingredient I’ve missed in this sandwich ever since I had it when Andy’s Mediterranean was just a convenient store selling falafel sandwiches out of the back. The beef shawarma came with the same condiments as the falafel. It had a powerful cinnamon flavor my brother enjoyed, but I think he might have enjoyed the cinnamon and walnuts of his baklava dessert ($2.75) just a little more!
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