When the patrons of Lávash Café step inside the beloved Clintonville restaurant’s doors, they are immediately greeted with the enticing aroma of fresh Mediterranean cuisine. Once that moment of sensory indulgence passes, it becomes impossible to overlook the vast collection of awards, honors and glowing reviews that adorn the café’s brightly colored walls — that is, if you can keep your eyes off of the dessert case.
Such was the scene as I strolled into Lávash, which is located at 2985 N. High St. Even during an ordinary Tuesday lunch hour, the café was teeming with customers. As I struggled to focus on the menu, situated slightly above a row of tantalizing spit-roasted meats, I sensed that I would encounter little difficulty in selecting a dish to my liking.
Once I’d managed to come to my senses, I decided upon the Beef and Lamb Shawarma — a $7.45 wrap consisting of freshly roasted lamb and beef, lettuce, tomatoes and tahini sauce, all rolled into a house-made lavash flatbread.
For an extra $2.95, I was treated to a well-portioned basket of french fries. And, on the recommendation of the staff, I sprung for a $3.95 glass of freshly squeezed orange-carrot juice. Though the price of the meal was fairly steep at nearly $15 before tip, the quality and size of the meal justified the expense.
With a pleasantly tangy and savory flavor profile, the shawarma alone would have satiated my appetite. Although I found the meat slightly dry, the tahini sauce easily compensated for that shortcoming.
As for the french fries on the side, they scarcely resembled those one would find at a fast-food restaurant — they were cooked to order and arrived at the table fresh, hot and cooked to a perfect crisp.
Still, it was the orange-carrot juice that stood out above the rest. The beverage was extremely well-balanced and full-bodied. Just as I processed the smooth carrot flavor, the zesty citrus finish came through with a flourish.
Though the menu offerings at Lávash might seem exotic, the atmosphere is casual and inviting. The service is nothing short of excellent, to boot. The food was ready within five minutes of ordering, and the owner made rounds to ensure that all of the customers were satisfied with the experience.
With numerous entrées priced between $7 and $20, Lávash Café is a restaurant worth visiting on repeated occasions. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.