Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rate-A-Restaurant #189: Open Sesame

Restaurant: Open Sesame

Location: 5215 and 5201 E. 2nd St. (Long Beach)

Type of restaurant: Mediterranean

We stipulated: My parents were in town, and we were heading down to Long Beach to visit my high school pal Anthony, his wife Candice and their two kids (including Evan's little g.f.). Anthony and Candice suggested Open Sesame.

What we ordered: Appetizer: Baba ghannouj (fire roasted eggplant, delicately mixed with garlic, lemon juice and tahini sauce sprinkled with sumac (sourberry) and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil), $6.25. Entrees: Chicken Shawarma (tender marinated chicken breast and thigh cooked on an upright spit then sliced, served with hummus, garlic sauce, wild cucumber pickles, pita and choice of salad), $11.99. Also: Beef shawarma pita (marinated beef cooked on an upright spit then thinly sliced and rolled into a pita, with tomato, onion, parsley, sumac, wild cucumber pickles and garlic sauce), $6.99.

High point: With a party of eight and no reservation, we sprung ourselves on them -- and yet still managed to get a table fairly promptly. I also liked the constant stream of pita bread, and the garlic paste was excellent.

Low point: We were hoping to sit in the main restaurant, but had to settle for the satellite location. The hummus was also of a questionable flavor. And the fact that rice didn't automatically come with the shawarma -- it was $1.50 extra.

Overall impression: Nice menu, and decent food. But nothing too memorable about Open Sesame.

Chance we'll go back: If we're in Long Beach, perhaps. But we won't make a special trip for it.

For a complete list of our nearly 190 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant site.

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