Saturday, June 4, 2011
Garbanzo Bar and Grill in Rancho Mirage
Okay, I rolled my eyes when Donna mentioned the name of this Rancho Mirage restaurant she wanted to try. I pictured some sort of vegan haven offering nothing but grilled chick-pea pancakes. My myth was dispelled once my eyes spotted a mound of meat rotating vertically behind the counter.
My teeth sank into our appetizer - tender, hearty mushrooms sautéed in a flavorful, sweet sauce served over a plate of fluffy Hummus which I dove into with a piece of hot laffa (flat bread covered in sesame seeds and flavor-exploding spices). I wiped my carnivorous chops and grabbed the menu – perusing it for more (so much, so little time). We ordered shawarma. The chicken and lamb shavings arrived with a garlic tahini sauce and Israeli salad (chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and parsley marinated in lemony, olive oil, garlic, and mint). The menu offered schnitzel (yes schnitzel), but it wasn’t the 50-pound batter-drenched veal type common in Germany, rather a pounded chicken breast deep fried with a light but crunchy coating served with colorful and tasty saffron rice. On the way out, owner Lizzie encouraged us to return and try her pastries and baked goods, which she boasted were her specialty. The lunch prices are reasonable, but we noticed the dinner menu was a bit pricier. It is a friendly and non-assuming place located in the same building as Albertson's at the southwest corner of Monterey and Country Club.