My Meal Cost: $15.26 plus tip. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars
A little bit of background on me. I'm a non-smoker. I grew up in a household of all smokers and have always hated it. I avoid smoke as much as possible. When I was younger and in the workforce, everyone smoked and it couldn't be avoided. Every desk had ashtrays. I worked in food service at Disneyland while in college and there were ash trays at every table, which I had to clean. I really HATE cigarette smoke and am not a fan of any smoking. I was thrilled when restaurants started having "no smoking" sections, although they did little to keep the smoke from wafting into that area. Flying was also a lot of fun during that time.
Having said all of that, this week's restaurant is actually a Hookah Lounge that serves food. Make no mistake, their first activity is smoking, indoors. One side of the menu for this place is food, and drinks, the other side is all hookah options and pricing.
With all of that, my commitment to this blog meant that I had to eat ALL of Garey Avenue's restaurants so I found myself at this place last evening after attending a Pomona Reads! meeting. When I arrived I was met by a "host" who showed me the menu and suggested that I sit anywhere. There were two other occupied tables, one with a gentleman puffing away at a hookah, and the other with two young women. I chose a table as far away from the smoke as I could get.
The room itself if nicely decorated with tables, where I sat, and couches and lounge chairs. There is softish rap music playing in the background and, at this time, there was the channel 5 news playing on a large screen TV. Soon, the two young women also got a hookah. I must say that watching the very large apparatus being carried out, and then the coals being blown on and placed on the top was at least interesting.
The VERY limited menu had 6 sandwiches and pizza for the food options as well as 8 appetizers which included wings, fries, falafel, hummus, grape leaves, and chicken tenders. The sandwich menu was two different philly sandwiches (chicken and beef), gyros, falafel, and two different shawarma sandwiches (chicken or beef). The pizzas were three different sizes of cheese pizza with additional toppings to order. No alcohol on the menu.
The waiter was friendly and I ended up ordering the beef shawarma sandwich combo (with fries and beverage -- refills extra). The sandwich came wrapped burrito style in a pita bread with thin sliced beef, onion, and bell pepper. The fries were moderately sprinkled with season salt. I got a Coke Zero to go with it. At $10 for the sandwich and an additional $4 to make it a combo, it was not a lot of food for your dollar.
The sandwich was juicy and the meat tender. However, for me at least, the level of cloves in the spice mix was overpowering. I couldn't really taste the onion and pepper over the cloying sweetness of clove.
This place is probably OK if you're a hookah smoker. That's what this place really is. The idea that it's a restaurant AND hookah lounge is a bit misleading as the focus of the business is on the hookah experience and the food and drink is only there to supplement. As someone who does everything I can to avoid smoke, I don't think I'll be back.