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Semiramis and the First Law
April 25, 2005 | 1 Comments

EatChicago's First Law of Chicago Dining:
For every jam-packed, over-hyped eatery, nearby there is another similar eatery of equal or greater quality, situated nearby, that is nearly empty.

Semiramis is a shiny new Lebanese restaurant on Kedzie, occupying The Shwarema King's (RIP) remodeled space. An early discovery on, (and subsequently written up in The Reader and Time Out Chicago), I've paid a couple visits to Semiramis and have been extraordinarily pleased.

There are a lot of great starters like a smoky batinjan moutabbal (baba ganouj), a flaky sambousik (lamb-stuffed pastries) served with yogurt, and a mild foul muddammas (fava beans). These are quickly overshadowed by the sandwiches, which make a perfect lunch. Falafel and shwarema, both offered in traditional or "special" style which includes eggplant, tomato, red cabbage, pickle, harrisa, and tahini. All the sandwiches are served rolled (not stuffed) in flat Lavosh fresh from Al-Khaymeih. The lamb and beef shwarema special is truly among the great sandwiches in the city.

Another popular item on their menu is the roast chicken served over lavosh with toum (a soft garlic paste). The whole chicken costs $5.50 ($3.75 for a half), and extraordinary value. It goes great with sumac dusted french fries, a transplant from the owner's days at ZouZou.

There's plenty more. Be sure to check the sidewalk chalkboard for the daily specials. I've had their lamb and rice stuffed zucchini in a tomato sauce which were even better for lunch the next day. I've also spotted plenty of shrimp dishes on the board which sound quite tasty.

Semiramis is just south of Noon O Kebab on Kedzie. Noon O Kebab is consistently crowded due not only to their excellent food, but also to some "Check,Please"-induced fame. Semiramis deserves the same crowd, if not a greater one, than Noon O Kebab.

Check out Semiramis at 4639-41 N Kedzie, 773-279-8900, BYOB, metered street parking. And don't forget about Salaam across the street (I still think they have the best bowl of foul in town).

Posted 04:46 PM
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