LaShish masters cuisine essentials

If one doesn’t care for garlic and/or olive oil, chances are Greek and Lebanese food won’t be their thing. Fortunately, we like both, and found that LaShish knows how to use these two essentials with some restraint.

We found the small restaurant quiet, and thus relaxing, on a recent Sunday evening. Cozy as well, the eatery features Greece- and desert-set murals on two walls.

Mandy, our server, gave us plenty of time to look over the menu, even though we could sense it was getting close to closing time.

As ethnic music played low in the background, we settled on an appetizer of fried cheese ($7.48). The thick slices of haloom cheese had been sauteed in olive oil until a slightly crunchy coating formed on the outside. Flavored with a nice amount of garlic, the dish was garnished with a kalamata olive.

Most entrees are preceded by a substantial green garden salad which tossed iceberg lettuce and grated feta cheese in a light, tangy dressing. We were impressed with the freshness of all its ingredients.

The gyros plate ($11.98) offered a plentiful mound of the broiled lamb-and-ground beef blend topped with Lebanese yogurt and garnished with thin slices of onion. Very tender and tasty, the dish was accompanied by mild, moist rice dotted with green peas, and creamy hummus with just the right amount of garlic, and sprinkled with paprika. The pita bread for dipping arrived nice and warm.

Two guests tried the chicken shawarma salad ($10.78) and the chicken shawarma plate ($11.98) and enjoyed both. The thinly-sliced pieces of chicken had been marinated in garlic, olive oil and Lebanese spices and were quite tender. The salad’s chicken covered a bed of iceberg lettuce and grated feta cheese with a light dressing. The plate also included rice and hummus.

A third guest, who doesn’t care for most Lebanese food, ordered the shrimp pasta ($16.98) and was pleased with this diversion from typical garlic-and-olive oil fare. Several small- to medium-sized shrimp, sauteed and nicely seasoned, floated in a flavorful butter and parmesan cheese sauce over a bed of spiral pasta. It was very rich and good.

We took home two desserts to sample — the baklava, phyllo pastry filled with nuts and honey ($3.98), and the ashta, phyllo pastry filled with cream cheese ($4.98), and found both of them just average.