Welcome to another installment of “Adventures in Groupons” (dun dun dun).
This week, we’ll be visiting the Hammurabi Family Restaurant in El Cajon, CA. Hammurabi offers a number of Mediterranean foods. They have a pretty massive menu with a little bit of everything. On the back of the menu, they have a number of “Feast” meals depending on the number of people in your party.
Well, let me tell you – I think the numbers are off! You’ll see what I mean…
Jake and T were with me for this outing, so we figured we’d just get the Feast for Three People to share between the three of us.
The hummus was the first thing to come out to us. Very smooth with a good creamy consistency with a daub of olive oil on top and (I think) a large sprinkle of paprika. It was a little bit bland. There wasn’t a lot of seasoning or other flavors added – just a plain hummus.
[Lavash Flat Bread]
We got a big basket of lavash bread to go with the hummus. Pita bread is what I’m used to getting at other restaurants but the lavash bread was okay. Just a basic bread.
Salad came out to us next looking very fresh and green. Lots of tomatoes and cucumbers mixed in with some leafy greens. The dressing on this salad was extremely tart though – way too much of the acidic element was put into the dressing. And since the whole salad was coated with the dressing, after a few bites we gave up eating it. Luckily the “Feast” was coming up next after a few disappointing starters.
We were blown away when the actual “feast” arrive – they were not kidding!
This was a very large metal platter that was given to us – surrounding the whole thing were slices of tomatoes and cucumbers. The sliced veggies alone probably equaled a few tomatoes and at least a whole cucumber. There was also chopped onions on both ends with the kabobs, meats and chicken in the middle of the platter. The rice and burghel are also hiding underneath the meats.
Included on the platter: 3 skewers of beef kabob, 3 skewers of chicken kabob, 2 skewers of chicken tikka and shawarma in the middle. The breaded looking meat was Chicken Cream Chop.
The name Chicken Cream Chop made me think of something saucy, but here it is a breaded boneless chicken that’s fried. It was just okay – a little bit overcooked so the chicken was a little dry. The seasoning and overall flavor was just okay.
On the very bottom is the Chicken Tikka – easily my favorite meat on the whole plate. The chicken tikka here is marinated and seasoned with a blend of lemon, herbs and spices. It tasted like thigh meat and was moist, juicy, and tender. The spices were very good and marinated the meat very well.
Of the two kabobs (on the left side), I preferred the chicken kabob. It was a little more tender and flavorful than the beef. The beef kabob was a little bit dry and overdone. The chicken was much better here as well – still moist and tender with similar seasonings as the beef.
I also really enjoyed the rice – it had a wonderful aroma and flavor and was a moist, flavorful rice.
I hadn’t had burghel before this but I liked it. It’s a little bland in flavor, but it had a good feel in my mouth and had enough flavor to make my mouth happy.
Now that I’m done talking about the food, let’s talk about the place!
Walking in felt kind of weird. You don’t see anyone up front and there wasn’t really anyone to greet us. There are these long empty counters in the front. It looks like it used to be a seating area with chairs at the bar, but those have all been removed. There are a few booths and tables and then down in the back there’s a long curtain that divides off half of the restaurant. Behind the curtain and outside are where a bunch of older gentlemen play cards and dominoes.
Besides the solo waitress, I was the only other female in the whole place! Our waitress was also our hostess, our server, the bus boy and cashier. She was hustling all evening!
The Chicken Tikka the dish that Jake and I loved the most of everything. There were some misses here but the chicken tikka made up for a lot of that by being so tender and flavorful. I’m not sure if we’ll be going back – but it was definitely an experience and showed us a new dish that we hadn’t tried before.
Hammurabi Family Restaurant
(House of the Real Kabob!)
401 W. Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92020