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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 5 months ago

Paul K Review


paul k served us uninspired middle-eastern fare. Although a few appetizers stood out (bolded below), most items were unworthy of superlatives.


Our main appetizer was a sampler called a "mezza platter." It included:

  • lamb kofte: Our best item of the night. A yummy, slightly springy spicy lamb sausage.
  • chili harissa sauce: Meant to go with lamb kofte, we really enjoyed this red chile sauce with many things.
  • lamb riblets: Some ribs with meat that had the taste and texture as if it were entirely fat (gross!), topped with a pomegranate-based sauce that some of us also didn't like.
  • garlic yogurt: It's yogurt. What can one say? Meant to go with the riblets, though we only found this out afterward.
  • feta cheese: Perfectly fine.
  • pita bread: Good. Warm and freshly cooked, though a little floury.
  • baba ghanoush (for pita bread): None of us liked it, both in texture (it was a bit more saucy than usual) or taste (it has a hint of something which I think was pomegranate which I didn't appreciate).
  • pomegranate & walnut dip (also for pita bread): Okay.
  • olives: Yes indeed they're olives. Fine.
  • marinated artichokes with roasted garlic: The artichokes marinated in lemon juice were decent, but the roasted cloves of garlic that came mixed with them were exquisite.


Grilled romaine hearts was our other selected appetizer. Quite tasty, with its dried dates and good blue cheese in a "anchovy-garlic vinaigrette."


Soon after ordering we were also served fresh pita bread (like that we got later on the platter) and two types of hummus, one from light garbanzo beans and one from dark ones. (Who knew there were such things?) The hummus, mixed with some caraway seeds, was excellent, much better than what one finds at most restaurants.


We tried the pressed sumac chicken and Syrian spiced duck breast as our two entrees, and neither impressed us at all.

  • The pressed chicken was a thoroughly unexciting roasted chicken (bone and all) pressed (like in a panini press). Although the skin looked good, most bites didn't have much spicing or flavor at all. One person remarked that the chicken was surprisingly boring given that sumac is usually a fairly strong spice. It came with unremarkable oyster mushrooms and roasted potato chunks, exactly like one would cook at home without putting any energy or time into them.
  • The Syrian spiced duck, served in slices neatly arranged around a pile of vegetables, was slightly better than the chicken though still didn't have that much flavor. We did find that the last few bites were better than the first few as the duck soaked up more of the sauce (pomegranate molasses) or coalesced its juices during the meal. The vegetables -spinach, roasted potato chunks, and portobello mushrooms- were as unremarkable as the vegetables in the other entree.


The desserts were respectable, an improvement from the entrees. We had:

  • A chocolate pot de creme. A bit thicker than pudding, we enjoyed the fact that it was clearly made from dark chocolate (and so was definitely more bitter than usual). The cream on top was bad; one attendee analyzed it and claimed it had too much egg white. Served with a small chocolate cookie.
  • A sundae of toasted almond ice cream topped with whipped cream, sliced almonds and drizzled on one side with fudge and another with caramel. Perfectly reasonable. Most of us generally prefer fudge to caramel, but this dessert has quite good caramel and quite poor fudge, reversing our regular opinion. Some complained (rightly) the amaretto, combined with almond slices and almond-infused ice cream, was too much; to tone it down we ended up ignoring most of the slivered almonds.


The wine menu had character, with wines divided into categories such as "wines that fizz," "wines with a little zip," and "roses to dab behind your ears." We ordered two wines, a Limerick Lane Zinfandel and a Heron Lake Pinot Noir, both from the category "wallflowers that 'bust a move' with the food" and neither of which we liked very much. Both were described as a little weird, with odd aftertastes, though they were better with the food than without. We also had a latte and decaf coffee and glasses of water with cucumber slices floating in them. The staff was quite good at refilling our water.


As for the decor, it was fairly chic with gray walls and curtains, many paintings, an open kitchen, and tiny lamps hanging on long cords. When we entered the place was full, and the crowd plus music heavy on the bass (though not house music) made conversation difficult. Incidentally, the benches were surprisingly hard.


Total was $36/person including tax and tip but not including drinks.


Original Announcement


Apologies for the short notice,


We'll head on Wednesday (tomorrow or today, depending on when you are reading this) at 8:00pm to paul k. It describes itself as "edgy modern," which you should probably read as contemporary mediterranean.



It's in the neighborhood of the civic center.


Tell me if you are coming! We're going to meet at the civic center BART at 7:50pm and walk over.


Comments from Other Attendees


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