Photos by Mariel Weinand, Words by Ayush Kumar
Coolidge Corner is a dynamic and ever-changing environment for restaurants. In the eight years that I have lived in the area, I have seen countless businesses come and go. It came to me as a huge surprise when my friend Benji, who is still a Brookline "noob," as the kids would call it these days, mentioned a kebab place that would be open at 10:30p.m. on a Wednesday night.
With a name like "Jerusalem Pita," I couldn't believe I had never seen the place. But tucked away next to the imposing Boca Grande and featuring a very unassuming sign, it might be an easy place to overlook.
Because we walked in half an hour before closing time, I was expecting terrible, rushed service, but was pleasantly surprised when the friendly wait staff told us to sit wherever we wanted. As soon as the menu arrived, I realized why this place was never brought up in conversation by one of the plethora of my Jewish classmates back at Brookline High- it is pricey! Be prepared to shell out some dough, as some entrees alone go as high as $40, but remember the menu accommodates a wide price range.
Wanting to get a taste of everything, we decided to get the cold appetizer teaser. We received two fluffy pitas with six bowls laid out with colorful spreads. Out of the hummus, tahini, baba ghanoush, matbuha, tabouleh and carrot salad, it became very clear which ones we were going to run out of first. Matbuha is a type of tomato and bell pepper spread that, when accompanied with some tabouleh (which is essentially a green parsley mixture with tomatoes) is simply divine at Jerusalem Pita.
In fact, one of the most fun parts of the appetizer was trying out different combinations of flavors. Initially I had wanted to stuff my pita with everything and chow down, but when a man named Benji Barak Hadar tells you that the traditional way to eat it is by breaking it off piece by piece, you listen.
Still ravenous when my entrée of a chicken shish kebab served in a laffa arrived, I could not wait to dive in. You can choose to get kebabs in a pita, but I had no idea what the "laffa" meant; it turned out to be a thinner burrito-like wrap, definitely holding a bigger portion size than a pita would have.
The chicken, cooked tenderly to perfection, was complemented well by the filling. Take my advice and save some of the spreads from the cold appetizer, as they definitely help accentuate the flavors of the kebab. I would, however recommend against the laffa, as it is a very cumbersome way to eat Middle Eastern food. Unlike a burrito, the filling is too heavy to be supported by the bread.
The verdict? If you're in the area and are looking for some Kosher noms, this is a place worth checking out. A low-key environment with prompt service, you might want to save this for when your parents are in town to pick up the bill.