That is what the waitress told us the name of the restaurant means. We stopped at Hala In yesterday for the first time. This small storefront opened 2 years ago and we discovered the neighborhood mail coupon, about to expire, in a stack of old mail, so we set off to see if we might find a new favorite Mediterranean restaurant close to home.
Hala In is small - just 9 tables (some pushed together to make tables for 8). Decor is simple, service fast and friendly and the food excellent. The menu ranges from a vegetarian combo for $7 to chicken, beef and lamb dishes and combos ranging from $7 to $15.
Whatever you choose to order, start with a small dish of superlative hummus for less than $2 (a larger portion is also available). The hummus was creamy, smooth and perfectly seasoned with a pool of lemony olive oil in the center and generous pinches of spices adorning the rim. The pita was so hot we had to let it cool before tearing off a piece for dipping.
My vegetarian combo consisted of more of that wonderful hummus and equally delicious baba ghanouj, creamy and mild with a smoky kick. Taboule chock full of parsley, felafel and stuffed grape leaves (2 each) rounded out the platter.
Mr. ordered the Combo Plate ($10). Pieces of beef kabob, kifta kabob and chicken kabob with a mound of chicken shawerma topped with slivered onion and ground sumac. I tasted everything and everything was delicious, especially the perfectly cooked rice pilaf. The combo came with a small salad of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion with a light vinaigrette. Just right.
Fearful that Mr. might not have enough to eat we opted for an extra hummus just to be sure. We needn't have bothered. We were both full beyond comfort but I still insisted on finishing every grain of rice, it was that good.
With our coupon the bill ran to $15. Without we would have had trouble topping it out at $20. The restaurant does not have a web site but you can order online at Halainrestaurant@yahoo.com.
Quotable quotes; in the category I can see how they're both important!
"Food is an important part of a balanced diet." Fran Lebowitz