5/29/2018 Lavash (Clintonville)

The Columbus Veg Community continued our relentless food tour of Columbus tonight with Lavash Cafe. Consistently voted among the best Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine in the city, and known for its many vegan options, Lavash delivers the goods. A light, open space greeted us with a spacious side room decorated with evocative Middle Eastern murals. Friendly and knowledgeable counter staff made ordering easy and were given a buzzer while we found our table. No sooner had we sat down than the buzzer went off. Now that’s fast food! And so much better than the other kind.

We started with the Lentil Soup. Sauteed red split peas, onions, garlic, olive oil, and spices (cumin?), this filling bowl could seriously feed two: warm, tasty, and even better with a squeeze from the provided lemon wedge.

Soft, chewy, comforting Pita Bread accompanied the meal. Made fresh, half of it went home with us there was so much.

Next came the Fatayer, a savory Middle Eastern pie. Of two vegan versions, we chose the spinach and were not disappointed. This was mixed with sumac, spices (Za’atar?), and olive oil and wrapped in a baked homemade dough. It just might be the perfect finger food. So yummy! This came accompanied by two kinds of Middle Eastern pickles: cucumber and something resembling a large radish slice, they added a nice salty dimension to the flavors.

Finally we dove into the Lavash Combo: Falafel, Hummus, Tabouleh, and Stuffed Grape Leaves.

The Falafel was perfect: crispy brown on the outside, tender and tasty on the inside. Made of ground chick peas, parsley, onions, and spices, it’s served with sesame-based (and vegan) tahini sauce.

The Hummus was good, though I prefer more garlic and lemon in mine. Not a large
portion, it did come with one Kalamata olive, which always adds a nice flavor.

The Tabouleh was just right: fresh, green parsley, tomatoes, onion, cracked wheat and mint, dressed with lemon and olive oil, you can taste the health in it. And with healthy food this tasty, you can’t go wrong.

The lemony Stuffed Grape Leaves had a nice texture and the filling of rice, parsley, onion, tomatoes, bell pepper and spices were a nice counterpoint and complement to all the other flavors.

I decided to treat myself to a Pina Colada Smoothie. Frosty and sweet, it was so creamy I couldn’t believe it was vegan, but they said it was, so I’m guessing it’s from coconut milk. Just remember to ask for the vegan version or you may get whipped cream.

The menu is clearly-marked with a V for vegan, though there were some discrepancies between the website and the menu for a few items (Falafel Sandwich and Veggie Combo Sandwich). You may want to ask for clarification for those. Unfortunately the Baba Ghanoush is not vegan. Apparently they had made it the traditional way, but then perplexingly started adding dairy to it. There is always a vegetarian soup of the day and today’s was Lemon Cauliflower, but it was unfortunately not vegan. You will want to ask whether “vegetarian” means “vegan” or not. 

One nice touch to Lavash are the ceramic plates and stainless ware: friendlier to the environment and making for a more enjoyable dining experience. The place was hopping at 7pm and there was a line for some time, so I’m glad to see business is brisk. Lavash earns its loyal following. The food is delicious and healthy, vegan options are plenty, and the atmosphere is welcoming and enjoyable. Every time I eat here I tell myself “I need to eat here more often”. And so I shall.

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