13-22 River Rd, Fair Lawn, NJ
Recently, I was heartbroken to find out that my favorite local Israeli restaurant, Walla! in Tenafly, had closed after only a few months in business. While we do have other great Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean options in the area (most notably Bennies in Englewood, Axia in Tenafly, Greek Village Taverna in Edgewater, Samdan in Cresskill and the original Kervan in Cliffside Park) they are either Greek, Lebanese or Turkish. While all these cuisines share many things in common, Israeli food has its own distinct style, mainly because it follows Kosher traditions. Thus you don’t see cheese/dairy and meat eaten together with meals, shellfish is prohibited, and they have to be more creative with vegetables and seasonings due to those dietary limitations. Also, because Israel is a melting pot, you see influences from all over the Middle East in its food — Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Iraq for starters.
Just prior to closing for the Passover week, I visited Perfect Pita, a Glatt (Meat) Kosher Israeli restaurant in Fair Lawn. Don’t let the fact that this place is Kosher deter you from visiting — I’d hold its cuisine easily up against Bennies or Walla, which prior to eating here were my benchmarks for quality local Middle Eastern food. Service is also friendly and efficient, and they couldn’t be nicer people too. The restaurant is owned by a Syrian Jewish family and the flavor of the food reflects the traditions of both countries.
Perfect Pita storefront.
A view of the wide selection of mezze (salads) available.
A glance at the kebab menu
Its time for some serious Israeli food. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
The felafel bar, set up just like it would be in Israel.
The main dining room.
Ground Meat kofta kebab in a “Laffa”, or a Yemenite flat bread, baked in-house. I was offered a taste of this kebab and it was highly seasoned and had a great charcoal taste to it. Definitely on my list to order on my next visit.
Mezze: Israeli Carrot Salad, Baba Ghanoush (Eggplant/Mayonnaise), Mushroom Salad, Corn Salad
Spicy Tomato Dip (Zhoug), Green Bean Salad
Hummous, thick and creamy.
Rachel’s Chicken Schwarma, served over couscous with grilled vegetables. This is seasoned with Sabah Baharat, a middle eastern seven spice blend.
Chicken Schwarma on the spit, ready for slicing.
Felafel balls, which are some of the crunchiest and best I’ve had in the entire area.