Hubby and I were trying to hit Taste of Havana the other day for lunch, but we walked in and it was so packed, there were people waiting everywhere, and there was no way we were going to get a seat. Have to hit it again maybe a little earlier in the lunch rush.
Anyway, a couple of you had mentioned going to Sahara, the new Middle Eastern kid on the block and enjoying it, so we ran across the street to try it instead. They have done a nice job with the interior—it’s a bit nicer inside than most Broad Ripple Avenue places. It seems to be run by a family—everyone seemed to be related to one another, and there was even what looked like a Grandma cooking in the back. Of course, I could be totally wrong and they could all just be random strangers, but it’s nicer to think it’s a family. There is a slight language barrier, but nothing major. They offer table service, even though it appears to be at first glance a place where you order at the bar.
|Brides with meat, hummus and pastries|
So we sat and looked and the menu and were intrigued by the appetizer portion (not surprising for me) and we decided to just go with a tapas style lunch. We ordered several of the various pastries ($1.49 each). We had the spinach, the potato and the white cheese. We also ordered hummus ($3.99 for small), falafel (small order $2.99), and the “Brides with meat” ($5.99) as well as the “Brides with cheese” ($5.99). I am not sure where this name comes from, and when I googled it to see if it is a thing that I just didn’t know about—a bunch of pictures with actual brides—white dress and all came up holding chicken legs and stuff. Made me laugh.
These brides with meat were probably my favorite item. They are grilled pitas stuffed with a ground meat mixture made from beef and lamb. This meat had a great spicy flavor—they are not shy about the seasonings for sure. I especially liked them dipped in the tahini dip that came along with the falafel. After eating a couple bites of this, we added the cheese brides onto our order—same grilled and seasoned pita only stuffed with cheese. Sort of a Mediterranean style quesadilla. This place is open late (or I should say early, pretty sure they said they’re open to 4 am) and these items would be excellent late night/after a few drinks snacks. Not that I am ever up that late, but some of you might be. Side note: they put a few seasoned fries on the plate with the brides with meat—they were good seasoned fries although I’m pretty sure they were standard foodservice, which none of the other stuff was. And I’m not sure they always come with it—it’s not listed on the menu and didn’t come with the cheese version.
The falafel was also quite good. I am not a huge falafel person because I tend to find most too dry and lacking in flavor, but again, they are not shy with seasonings and this falafel was just perfectly crisp fried on the outside and quite tender on the inside. Again, the dipping sauce was very nice. I would get an extra order of that just for dipping everything into. The hummus was pretty straightforward in taste—I liked the little extra bits of texture that was added from the whole chickpeas on top. The pita served alongside was fine, but I would prefer if it was lightly grilled.
|Brides with cheese|
The weakest parts of the meal were the pastries. They were very bready, with not quite enough filling and they needed to be warmer—they were barely warmed. By far the best one of the three was the spinach—it was filled with lots of sautéed spinach and had about the right amount of filling. The potato one was just too dense and didn’t have enough flavor. Just all starch. The cheese pastry did not have enough cheese or seasoning either. I would take a pass on these next time, although they do look pretty. My only other gripe about the place was the napkins. They are cocktail napkins. And cheap ones at that. You need about 15-20 to get through the meal. Surely this is not cheaper than one decent napkin would cost.
It’s a nice addition to Broad Ripple Village though for sure—nice to see something other than the usual bars going in. And something that clearly a family is putting their heart and soul into. I look forward to trying some of the other menu items. Maybe I will even get a main dish next time.
832 Broad Ripple Avenue