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1005 N. Charles St., (410) 528-2121

Photo: Michael Byrne, License: N/A

Michael Byrne


1005 N. Charles St., (410) 528-2121
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Shiraz—which opened about a month ago in the Charles Street nook that used to house GiGi, an unremarkable smoothie-plus shop—offers a small, Halal-friendly menu of Middle Eastern usual suspects. Flafel, shawarma, kabobs, hummus (the in-store menu lists traditional spellings)—the gang’s all here, and not much else. A recent weekday visit at the tail end of the usual lunch hours found the cozy room—warm peach walls, polished hardwood floors—empty, save for a polite counter-man/cashier/cook, who had a pair of pita sandwiches, falafel, and schwarma, ready in just more than five minutes. The verdict? The falafel ($4.99) passes the test—green-on-the-inside, flavorful discs of deep-fried chickpea that should be familiar to University Market fans—but doesn’t match up to the soft, carefully spiced, and presumably homemade falafel down the way at Shapiro’s. (Guessing that Shariz’s are coming from frozen.) Meanwhile, the schwarma—imagine a less salty, less processed version of a gyro, subbing yogurt sauce for tahini (though that’s an option) and beef or chicken for lamb—was likewise satisfying, with meat neither greasy nor too dry. We’ll be back.

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