Dad is a carpenter by vocation and he never misses a chance to hang out at Home Depot or Lowe’s looking for that gadget or gizmo that is going to revolutionize how he is going to do his work. As luck would have it, we were heading back from some excursion and stumbled across this monstrous Ace Hardware at Tatum and Thunderbird in North Phoenix. The Ace Hardware near my home is pleasant enough, but is rather small, sandwiched between a Checker Auto and a bowling alley. So, I turned Dad loose to find more gadgets to waste his money on and I looked for a small flashlight for my car.
As we walked out of the hardware store, I noticed two restaurants in the same strip mall: Nee House Chinese Restaurant and Eden’s Grill Mediterranean restaurant. I pointed them out to Dad and he seemed, oddly, more intrigued by the Mediterranean restaurant than the Chinese restaurant. So, I made a mental note to return soon. As luck would have it, soon was just a week later and I got Dad to join me for dinner at Eden’s Grill. We parked and walked right in. The place was very full with only a couple of tables available. A very polite and cheery staff member showed us to a small round table toward the front of the restaurant.
We settled in and were given menus. I did mention to Dad that I felt a little claustrophobic because we were at a small round table and the next table was literally inches from us. Dad said he felt the same and thought removing one or two of the tables or converting them to square tables would have been a bit more comfortable. Within a minute or two, our drink order was taken. We each had Iced Teas ($2.00 each). Our server left to assist another patron and we reviewed the menus.
Upon her return, she dropped off our drinks and took our order. We decided to start with the meat-filled Potato Cakes ($6.95) and the small Fattuchee Salad ($4.95). For our main events, Dad wanted the Chicken and Beef Kebob Platter ($15.50) while I went with the Eden’s Vegetarian Dish ($14.95). Both Dad and I did think the pricing was a little high for Mediterranean food, but we were hopeful the quality and quantity would be top notch.
We only waited about five minutes before our server returned with a basket of pita bread. The pitas were soft, hot and light. We actually decided to wait a few moments to allow them to cool before we divvied them up and munched on them. They were quite good.
Next brought to the table was the Fattuchee Salad. The small plate contained a pile of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and pieces of fried pita bread. This was all tossed with a tangy vinaigrette dressing and a smattering of Fenugreek seasoning. The final result was stellar. Everything was fresh and the pita bread was outrageously crunchy. It was a very satisfying salad and Dad and I mopped up the remaining dressing on the plate with the pita bread.
Our final appetizer was the meat-filled potato cakes. They arrived and were more like croquettes in shape, but we each cut into one to see what we were getting into. A billow of steam escaped and we could see the meat hiding inside the potato casing which had been deep fried and was a dark caramel color. I put a bit of the cucumber sauce on my fork and then stabbed a bit of the cake. The result was a delicious taste that was excellent. The potatoes were soft and creamy and the meat was slightly spiced. It was very good, although I think they should have come out of the fryer just a few moment earlier as the exterior was just slightly overdone.
There was about a 10-minute gap between finishing our appetizers and the arrival of our entrees. When our server set Dad’s Chicken and Beef Kebabs on the table, we both exclaimed “Wow!” due to the hefty portion size on the plate. This was a gigantic platter containing large servings of chicken, beef, skewered vegetables and a huge bed of yellow rice tossed with raisins and almonds. Dad tried the beef first and said it was ridiculously tender and said the flavor was “really rich.” He tried the chicken and loved the moist meat and the marinaded flavor. He found the chicken slightly smoky. He thought the big skewer of vegetables was also quite good because there was significant char on them. But the big raves went for the rice. Dad said the combination of the raisins, almonds and juices from everything else made the rice a killer side dish.
My Eden’s Vegetarian Dish was just a work of art. It was, like Dad’s meal, a huge portion and there were just so many tastes to try on the plate. The dish contained two veggie patties, four falafel, four dolmehs and skewers of vegetables. All of this was piled on a bed of the rice. The veggie patties were really quite good. There was a hint of spice and they were crispy. The falafel was crunchy on the outside and very tender on the inside with some subtle flavors and an almost buttery aftertaste. The dolmehs were traditional grape leaves stuffed with rice and they were very good. I was pleased that they did not have that overly acidic taste to them. These seemed very fresh and were a pleasant way to round out the dish. The vegetables were excellent. Like Dad, I enjoyed the char on them. And, then, there was the rice. It never ceases to amaze me that doing something so simple like adding some raisins and almonds can turn boring rice into a drool-inducing dish, but there is was and I was happy to enjoy it.
However, despite how good the food was, we simply couldn’t even finish half our meals. There was so much food we boxed up another two meals to take home. We requested our check and the total was $51.77 including tax. The amount of food for the cost was a true bargain. The service was cheerful and friendly and our server was great about refreshing out drinks just at the right time.
Dad and I gathered our boxes of food and headed out the door into the balmy night air. We were complete stuffed and had big smiles on our faces as we got into the car. Eden’s Grill was a big hit with us and outside of the somewhat claustrophobic feel of the small round table, we considered our visit a complete success.
As we headed out, Dad was very complementary of Eden’s Grill and summed up his thoughts succinctly.
“Excellent food and near a hardware store. That is great!”
Yes, it is, Dad.
13843 North Tatum Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85032
Dress: Resort Casual
Hours: Monday through Thursday – 11 AM to 9 PM; Friday – 11 AM to 10 PM; Saturday – 4 PM to 9 PM; Closed Sundays.
Notes: On the northeast corner of Tatum and Thunderbird.
Alcohol: Full bar.