Well, it’s Ted’s week to pick, so not surprising we’re back in Kent. And he’s had this place on his radar for a while now, thanks to our rule that you can’t pick a place for a WTGW outing if you’ve eaten there. And I guess he wanted to enjoy this experience with us. I know, it’s all very sweet.

Laziza features primarily Mediterranean foods – which, wait, what? Be still my heart. Two non-bar/grille places to start the year? We are certainly setting the bar high in 2015.

In any case.

Laziza has a nice atmosphere, it’s a large place with an upstairs seating area as well as some tables downstairs by the bar – which, if you know us, you know already this is where we sat. We just feel most comfortable next to a bar. Judge away.

Obligatory abstract mirror photo
Obligatory abstract mirror photo

At least we ended up with a window table. Because we’re special like that. Well, and because there were only like three other parties in the place – but I like the “special” reason better.

The drink list was on the table when we sat down, which I consider to be a good sign. Seriously, why don’t more places do this? It seems to save the whole “make the server run through 1800 choices and then they still have to come back because we haven’t had time to process all of that yet.” It’s just good business, people. For real.

*rant over*

Of course, I was wooed by the martini list right off the bat. I mean, with options like Bananas Foster, Peppermint Patty and Salted Caramel Macchiato, how can you ignore that? But the prices seemed a bit steep (most were around $8.00 each), so the romance was short lived. Especially once the server came over and told us they were featuring $1.00 off all draft beers, and that they had just tapped a Blue Moon Peach. Balance shift.

Our group reverted back to our three-against-one strategy of drinking, with Amanda, Shane and I all opting for the Blue Moon Peach, while Ted went with an IPA. And for once our beers were darker than Ted’s. Because it’s an evening of new adventures all around.

It's hard to tell from this photo, but my beer is actually darker than Ted's. What?
The color in this photo does not do it justice

Maybe out of embarrassment for that fact, Ted eventually switched to a Banana Fosters martini for his second round – which we all got a nice laugh out of when it actually made the server do a double take. Like a for real “wait, what?” double take. I’m guessing not too many people go IPA to martini in one round flat. But to give Ted credit, he also didn’t seem to regret his choice – and, having tasted said martini, I have to say I can’t really blame him. Delicious.

You want a what now, sir?
You want a what now, sir?

Meanwhile, Shane ordered coffee for his second round. Because he’s 97. And us girls stuck to beer. I’m not entirely sure what these choices say about our group.

Yes folks, that's my husband drinking coffee. Because he's apparently 97.
Yes folks, that’s my husband drinking coffee. Can we get a senior citizen discount?

For food, I should preface this by saying we had two people at the table who have at least eaten Mediterranean food before (me and Ted), and two who were kind of flying blind (Shane and Amanda). I have a feeling you’ll notice that our reviews of our meals reflect this fact, so I thought it best to at least put it out there.

Ted and I took over appetizer ordering, since we already kind of knew what we had our eyes on. I ordered the Dawali for an appetizer, and Ted went with the Fried Kibbie. I’m surprised Shane, after discovering hummus last summer and eating it about every day, didn’t order that – but then again maybe he’s had his fill. We did get him and Amanda to try the Dawali, although neither of them were that impressed. Ted had the Kibbie all to himself, although Shane did try the cucumber sauce that came with it. Which prompted memories of the “this has to be sweet … nope” taste test from Gus’s Chalet. And gave us a chance to mention that place for about the 85th straight week in a row. The streak continues.

Those aren't sausages
Those aren’t sausages
And that's not a corn dog. This ethnic food is hard.
And that’s not a corn dog. This ethnic food is hard.

The basket of pita and rolls that was brought out for the table was a mixed review: the rolls were buttery and very good, while the pita was too thin and had no flavor. The oil that came with it for dipping seemed to separate and left all the spices at the bottom … so really it only worked when you dipped the bread into it, not when you tried to be civil to your group an pour your own portion on your plate so you don’t accidentally double dip. So good thing we’re all friends here I guess.

As far as dinner, I’m thinking we had to be one of the easiest tables the server had all night. Girls had Shish Kabobs, while guys had Beef Shawarma. Thankfully, unlike last week’s server who promptly forgot our margarita orders two seconds after he left our table, our server at Laziza managed to keep this incredibly complicated order on pointe. Well done sir.

Meat on sticks
Meat on sticks
Meat, not on sticks
Meat, not on sticks

I thought it was all very good. Everything had good flavor, and the portions were extremely large. The only thing I noticed was that the meat was all over the board in terms of done-ness. Some chunks were a little drier and well done, while others looked to be just barely past the fresh-killed stage. I’m not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be prepared, but I have to admit that inconsistency was slightly unnerving. Amanda agreed – she said there were certain pieces of meat that were tough and not well seasoned, and then there were others were so tender they pretty much melted in your mouth. Which was not unlike Ted’s description of “meat flavored cotton candy” from a few months back, so I guess that’s a good thing.

Also unnerving: attempting to cut those less tender chunks of meat with the butter knife I was given with my meal. No joke. I mean, I think back to all those times we were given Ginzu steak knives to cut through hamburgers on plain buns, and then here I am trying to saw through nearly raw steak with a delicate knife meant for spreads. It was like at any moment I either expected the table to cave underneath me due to all the sawing motion, or that scene to play out from Pretty Woman when the escargot goes flying across the room at the fancy restaurant. Slippy little suckers.

Ted was happy with his meal. I think the place lived up to his expectations and was well worth the wait in trying it. And I’m sure he’ll be returning – in fact, he may even have done so by the time I post this review.

We also noted that, in the 18+ months that we’ve been doing this, this place was almost certainly the first place in which no cheese whatsoever was on our table over the course of the meal. RIGHT!?!? None. Zero. Zip. Which is absolutely unheard of for us. And could also explain why Ted likes Mediterranean food so much. *glass broken*

Shane, on the other hand, was not a fan. He said the rice was greasy (also one of Amanda’s complaints – I agree that it is oily, but no more so than rice I’ve had at other Mediterranean places). He didn’t like the beef on his Shawarma, said he thought it needed more seasoning and flavor. OK Negative Nancy. Between this week and last – when he also claimed his food was flavorless – maybe he’s ruined his taste buds somehow? It’s something to look into. Now granted, Shane also didn’t have a frame of reference for this type of food, as he’d never tried it before – but somehow I doubt it made such an impression that he’ll be eager to try it again.

So I guess the final verdict was that the half of the group who had tried this type of food before would vote in favor of a return, while the other half I think would be more inclined to vote for burgers and fries over this type of food in the future. But at least they tried it, so that’s something. And they didn’t order a wrap or something American-ized (which there is a lot of on the menu – everything from surf & turf to steaks to burgers to buffalo chicken wraps) so bonus points there.

But something also tells me when next week’s pick rolls around, Shane will be picking a good ole bar and grill for his choice. It’s time.







Picked by:  Ted
Drinks: The martini list looked fantastic, although the prices did not. Besides, they had us at “$1.00 off draft beers on Wednesdays.”  
If you like Mediterranean food, you’ll like Laziza. If you don’t … well, then, maybe you should think of a new place to go. Honestly, though, they do have a few burgers, steaks and a nice selection of wraps on the menu, so if someone in your group is “all-American-food-all-the-time” they should still be able to find something they like here.
Service: Excellent. Particularly the part where he was taken aback by Ted’s martini order. And he called us fun, so bonus points for that.
Overall: Those of us who had had this type of food before enjoyed it more than those in the group who hadn’t. So take that as you will.

Next Pick: Shane

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