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Nile

In a word: Ra ra ra!

The specs: #0702  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Ruppert Food Blog, Isthmus, Yelp, 77 Square, A.V. Club; chatter at TDPFNile Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Bill ate the stuffed artichoke special with a mango lassi.
JM ate the lamb shish kebob with a lemonade.
Nichole ate the sorar with a mango lassi.
Tracy ate the shawirma combination with a tiramisu.
We split some bisara.
The bill was $84, or $21/person, plus tip.
Bill, JM, Nichole, and Tracy gave Nile a B+ (see our grading rubric).

As you may know, the Nile flows north. (JM recalls having a hard time in school with "Upper Egypt" being south of "Lower Egypt.") And sometimes time does as well: our companions Bill & Tracy were up to the third trip down this Nile - in fact, they had been in the restaurant exactly 24 hours before our group visited. This shows either that a) the food here is great, b) Bill & Tracy are exceptionally good sports about going back with us or c) as with the real Nile, maybe it does its best when it floods. Our money's on all three.

SaladFul medames

For starters, there was a default yellow lentil soup or mixed green salad with tomatoes and onions in a house oil-and-vinegar dressing. We tried the bisara, too, a hummus-like puree of fava beans, dill and cilantro with blackened diced onion on top. It was a winner, smooth and bright-tasting, and very substantial eaten with the hot pita pieces.

Stuffed artichokesSchwarma

Bill was torn between a favorite entree and a special. The special of stuffed artichokes won out in the end. Trimmed and cored, stuffed with onion and their own diced hearts, and blanketed in broiled cheese in a hot dish full of tomato-based sauce - it did not leave him disappointed.

Tracy's shawirma combination came with two dolmadi, hummus, and yogurt sauce, and elaborate garnishes. The hummus was spread out like a crater full of whole chickpeas and decorated with paprika, cucumber, tomato and parsley. It was the same yummy, yummy hummus LuLu's was famous for. On the other side of the plate, odd-shaped bites of well-seasoned and tasty meat were also parsleyed-up and garnished with fresh red onions, which provided a good contrast. In the middle, the dolmadi were fine.

Lamb shish kabobPuff pastry

JM's lamb shish kebob plate was less prettily put together, with just meat, rice and hummus. He found the meat to be tough-ish (he knows that it is lamb) but it tasted as though it had been marinated.  The rich flavors were indeed top drawer, though.

Nichole went with an elaborate puff-pastry pocket, the sorar, which was both spicy and hot inside. It was stuffed mostly with rice, but also peas & diced carrots (not entirely confident in their never-been-frozen status) and the tiniest bit of ground beef and nuts. Though she would have preferred to try the tabbouleh and baba ghanouj, both listed as side dish options, they weren't offered; more hummus is hardly a reason to complain, but the ricy dolmadi were left un-nommed.

Mango lassi

There's always room for mango lassi. Bill, a fan of all things mango, praised the smoothness of this one but we both lamented the excess of ice in each tall tulip glass. Tracy's tiramisu made up for the memory-scarring one she suffered with us back at Pizza di Roma. Here it's very good, with strong espresso flavor and the perfect texture: neither soggy, nor dry, nor frozen. Perfect.

Our server was great when she was around - mid-meal she disappeared for a while - but this was not a meal to rush.  We hope that Nile manages to stick around in this spot that had seen three Indian buffets fail in rapid succession.  With Maharaja so close, it may be that Mediterranean cuisine is more unique and a better fit with the nearest competition being the Shish on University.  But for a good plate of hummus and other treats from the Middle East, eating here won't leave you in denial.

Comments

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I haven't been to the Nile yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

The Eye of Ra is Watching!

We've been here several times and have never been disappointed. I have the same concern about location - I hope it's able to hang on. I kind of wish they'd have kept the name Lulu's (rather than change it to Nile) just for that reason. Although maybe word is out by now that it's the same folks...

Un-nommed? *snort*

K-Czizzle, in her reviewing outfit, tried that sorar thing when we went and we both were ... not all that impressed. My kebab was better, but a lot of our meat was tough/dry.

That hummus though? TDF. I want to smear it on my life. And the bisara was totally delicious. Why do more things not come topped with caramelized onions? I ask you!

"I want to smear it on my life" - Best. Comment Ever.

I remember that salad we ate (fattush) being the best thing -- their dressing is addictive. On a separate visit, though, the coco wawa was pretty amazing.

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