Chicken Shawarma and Fattoush Salad at the James Beard Award Winning Restaurant Al Ameer

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Most delicious chicken shawarma ever for me and an all-round great lunch experience at Al Ameer on Warren Ave. in Dearborn, MI.

Manager Hassan Hashem and all the staff were welcoming and very cordial, answering questions willingly and still basking in the glow of the huge honor they recently received as the first Michigan restaurant to receive the James Beard America’s Classics Award. This award is given to a restaurant for timeless appeal and food that reflects the character of the community.

When asked why he thinks the restaurant won this prestigious award, Hashem told us “if you wouldn’t serve it to your family don’t serve it to the customers.” That is the creed they follow. If you know Lebanese families, you know they prepare wonderful food for family and friends.

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Smooth, creamy, delectable hommous . I like mine with extra oil and lemon. Eaten with their freshly-baked warm pillows of pita bread, it was a highlight of the meal.
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This is the chicken shawarma plate ordered by the good friend who accompanied me to Al Ameer. Hashem told us the secret to their shawarma is the marinade and the long period the meat spends with the flavorful mix. Then the meat is roasted. When served, it is flavorful and moist.

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Here you see the meat on the spit, roasted and ready to be shaved for serving. My chicken shawarma sandwich was the best ever. I was so quick to eat it, I forgot to take a picture. It was fat and filled with pickle, tomato, and flavorful, juicy chicken. The toum (Middle Eastern garlic sauce) served with it was out-of-this-world, no hint of bitterness. Food blogger Joe Hakim called this kind of eating experience “supreme shawarma satisfaction”. I can’t help but steal the phrase.

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For me, no shawarma is complete without fattoush. This is Lebanese salad with crisp fried pita bread chunks. I love the spices, the mint, and the lemon flavors, everything about it.

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Both the restaurant and the staff are welcoming and pleasant. We were there for late lunch on a weekday and the large tables and comfortable booths were not as crowded as at other times.

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Yes, they serve complimentary pickled cabbage. And they have a long menu of Lebanese favorites served in any combination you might wish. Whether you want tabbouli, falafel, vegetarian plates, fish or lamb. They serve it all. Try carry-out or eat in. You are very likely to find much to savor.

There’s no doubt this is my new favorite shawarma destination. And they now have two other locations: on Ford Road in Dearborn Heights, and on Haggerty in Canton. Check out their website www.alameerrestaurant.com

Better yet, if you live in the area, eat some of their delicious food, always a great value. Yes, shawarma is found in many restaurants around the Detroit area, but it seems to me that nowhere is it better than in East Dearborn at Al-Ameer.

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