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Al-Khaymeih [Pictures]

Al-Khaymeih [Pictures]
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  • Al-Khaymeih [Pictures]

    Post #1 - April 29th, 2007, 6:22 am
    Post #1 - April 29th, 2007, 6:22 am Post #1 - April 29th, 2007, 6:22 am
    LTH,

    Al-Khaymeih was hitting on all cylinders last evening, our group of 9 started with the Mezza, a set selection of 12 appetizers to which we added crisp on the outside, moist rich inside, kibbie and appetizing hummus topped with shawarma. Cauliflower, high roast with spots of sweet golden brown caramelization, was the surprise of the grouping, just delicious.

    As was mentioned by Erik and subsequently myself and Michael M Al-Khaymeih's Cornish Hen (Farouj) is a work of art. Assertively seasoned, moist, bits of grill char, popping with flavor.

    Farouj at Al-Khaymeih
    Image

    Shish Kabab Plate with skewers of marinated rib eye was tasty, nicely marinated good quality tender moist meat. Kafta Kabab loosely packed and flavorful, Crispy Fish another pleasant surprise, crisp breadcrumbs encasing flavorful moist fish flesh. Salmon Kabab was fine, a bit dry, the salmon lover in the group was pleased.

    Al-Khaymeih Grill
    Image

    Shawarma
    Image

    Our feast, including tax and tip, came to $18 per person, reasonable by any account. Al Khaymeih was busy, restaurant mostly full with another large party and, even though they were slightly understaffed, did an admirable job of servicing our group.

    Al-Khaymeih is BYOB.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Al-Khaymeih (Al-Khayameih)
    4748 N Kedzie
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-583-0999
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #2 - April 29th, 2007, 11:35 am
    Post #2 - April 29th, 2007, 11:35 am Post #2 - April 29th, 2007, 11:35 am
    Al-Khaymeih has become a weekly pilgrimmage for me and my family... We always order Fattoush, Hummos, Farouj and one other dish...

    The Fattoush salad is very very good (crispy pita bread, with the persian cucumbers, lettuce... lemony with sumac and of course olive oil). We order the yogurt salad often also, especially in the summer. It is served cold with cucumbers, a hint of garlic and mint. The hummus, IMHO, is the best I have tried around (includes Kedzie and Dempster establishments). My only complaint is that they use a ``cheap'' olive oil :x

    Elie
  • Post #3 - April 29th, 2007, 2:04 pm
    Post #3 - April 29th, 2007, 2:04 pm Post #3 - April 29th, 2007, 2:04 pm
    I agree with all the comments above. Al-Khaymeih is a great restaurant that, until recently, I hadn't visited all that often. My only complaint is that for a place with its own bakery right next door, the pita bread is often served unheated and not all that fresh, but this can vary greatly between baskets.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - April 29th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    Post #4 - April 29th, 2007, 3:03 pm Post #4 - April 29th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    Pardon my ignorance, but would Al-Khaymeih be considered a restaurant representative of Lebanese cuisine?
  • Post #5 - April 29th, 2007, 5:27 pm
    Post #5 - April 29th, 2007, 5:27 pm Post #5 - April 29th, 2007, 5:27 pm
    asami wrote:Pardon my ignorance, but would Al-Khaymeih be considered a restaurant representative of Lebanese cuisine?


    A hundred times, "Yes."

    E.M.
  • Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 9:07 pm
    Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 9:07 pm Post #6 - April 29th, 2007, 9:07 pm
    ett094 wrote:The Fattoush salad is very very good (crispy pita bread, with the persian cucumbers, lettuce... lemony with sumac and of course olive oil).

    Elie,

    I commented on the tastiness of the fattoush salad last night, bright fresh flavor, crisp pita, one of the better examples I've had. I'm really quite keen on Al-Khaymeih lately and the fact that it is BYOB, as is Semiramis, makes it a good choice for weekend dining with a group.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - April 30th, 2007, 5:31 pm
    Post #7 - April 30th, 2007, 5:31 pm Post #7 - April 30th, 2007, 5:31 pm
    I found myself here over the weekend as well, but limited my visit to the grocery where I went to pick up some of their excellent pita (the round kind to be toasted for fattoush and the thin flat kind for eating with kabobs). While there I got some flatbreads, which had just come out of the oven and were impossible to resist. Three types were available:One topped with a Lebanese "pesto" made with oregano,garlic and olive oil seemed the most popular , another topped with a mild white cheese and a third which was thinner,crispy and layered with a ground meat (beef and lamb is my guess) mixture seasoned with cumin,served folded in half to prevent the topping from flaking off while eating on the run. These are also sometimes available cold in bags along side the pita bread, but were a special treat right out of the oven making for a really outstanding lunch for only a few dollars.

    Sorry I missed you!
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    The Gefilte fish
    swims with great difficulty.

    Jewish haiku.
  • Post #8 - December 12th, 2007, 8:42 am
    Post #8 - December 12th, 2007, 8:42 am Post #8 - December 12th, 2007, 8:42 am
    LTH,

    Five of us braved the cold and had a fine Late Notice Lunch at Al-Khayameih, highlights of which were Cornish hen, roasted cauliflower, juicy stuffed grape leaves and tomato slices topped with toum, a garlicky olive oil/garlic emulsion.

    Cornish Hen
    Image

    Roasted Cauliflower
    Image

    Stuffed Grape Leaves
    Image

    Tomatoes topped with Toum
    Image

    Fresh cylinder of Shawarma topped with caul fat and a lemon looks particularly inviting.

    Shawarma
    Image

    Great lunch, better company.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Al-Khayameih (Al-Khaymeih)
    4748 N Kedzie
    Chicago, IL 60625
    773-583-0999
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - December 12th, 2007, 11:17 am
    Post #9 - December 12th, 2007, 11:17 am Post #9 - December 12th, 2007, 11:17 am
    I was wondering what others thought of the falafel at Al-K. Both times I've been, I've found the falafel to be very high in oil content. They were flavorful and good but sat heavy in the stomach, much like Sultan's falafels does to me. I know falafels are deep fried so one would assume they're supposed to be high in oil content but I've had ones that were refreshingly light (Pita Inn, Salam, and esp. Taza). Just wonderin.
  • Post #10 - January 5th, 2008, 2:45 pm
    Post #10 - January 5th, 2008, 2:45 pm Post #10 - January 5th, 2008, 2:45 pm
    Eight of us had dinner there last night. The falafel was tasty, but a little heavy. I prefer Salam's version. The farouj (cornish game hen) on the other hand, was unbelievably good. We tried a number of other dishes and they were good, but that was the standout in everyone's opinion. What a great find. Thanks again LTHF!
  • Post #11 - August 2nd, 2008, 8:00 pm
    Post #11 - August 2nd, 2008, 8:00 pm Post #11 - August 2nd, 2008, 8:00 pm
    WHY I WILL NEVER RETURN TO EAT- EVER- AT AL- KHAYMEIH

    I have been a loyal customer of this place, and the "ex-family" owned Bakery/Grocery next door, for over 3-4 years.
    I have taken friends, family and business associates there.
    I have hosted Family Gatherings there.
    I have seen the waitress from Romania come and go.
    I have seen Charlie, the most excellent Manager leave for "back home'.

    But, after the insult- of being asked to pay $2.00 extra for a side order of "toum" (Garlic Sauce/Garlic Mousse)- this was the last straw, in for me, a declining food establishment.

    Early in the year- spring time- when the "shock" of increased Commodity Prices/Fuel Costs/Basic Food Costs were being finally being realized by many Restaurant Owners- the owner of Al Kyameih, decided to take action.
    Instead of simply raising his prices- he decided to cut corners & portion sizes.

    What had been,for a long time- a nicely spiced bowl of Lentil Soup- was now, a cup (but still advertised as a "bowl").
    When questioned about it-the waitress would only innocently shrug her shoulders- and say that the owner had a new agenda- and YES, alot of the customers were not happy/complaining.
    What had previously accompanied every order- a plate of olives, maybe Pink pickles, maybe some Feta Cheee- was now reduced to having to beg the waitress for a modified version of that.
    And- the various flavoring garnishes- from the "toum" to the "Hot Sauce" were now added on as extra costs to a bill.

    I have no problem with paying a little more for good food.
    (Everything can't be as cheap as a .19cent Fallafel Ball @ Salaam!)- but, to try and reduce the "little touches" and flourishes that make a restaurant special- is not only bad business judgment- but only certain to compound ones losses.

    All along - the owner - the "ex" brother of the Owners of Al- Khayam Bakery and Grocery Store- was telling customers of his "new" bakery he was opening further south, on Kedzie- closer to Aruns. Maybe, his horrible breakup with the "family" led him to focus more energy on the new Bakery, than on running what had been a successful restaurant? Who know.
    But, when a short order cook- is the one calling the shots- fighting with the waitress, for sumac to go on a customers salad- and dictating, that a customers should pay TWO BUCKS for Garlic Sauce- then, my friends- its time to find another Lebanese Restaurant to frequent.

    Honestly- the fact that the place is "Christian" Lebanese, made it easier to BYOB (and- very few Middle Eastern/Lebanese Restaurants are BYOB, due to Muslim Sharia) created a better environment for a Party/gathering of friends.....but, there are PLENTY of other Lebanese restaurants that will now see me more regularly.
  • Post #12 - August 2nd, 2008, 10:53 pm
    Post #12 - August 2nd, 2008, 10:53 pm Post #12 - August 2nd, 2008, 10:53 pm
    Hombre de Acero wrote:But, after the insult- of being asked to pay $2.00 extra for a side order of "toum" (Garlic Sauce/Garlic Mousse)- this was the last straw, in for me, a declining food establishment.

    Early in the year- spring time- when the "shock" of increased Commodity Prices/Fuel Costs/Basic Food Costs were being finally being realized by many Restaurant Owners- the owner of Al Kyameih, decided to take action.
    Instead of simply raising his prices- he decided to cut corners & portion sizes.

    Are you saying he should have raised prices by $2 and kept on including the toum? That $2 is too much for toum? Or that he should have just absorbed the increased operating cost?

    Depending on who he sees as his core customers, he may have decided that most would prefer to continue paying the same price even though their money doesn't go so far.

    In this thread, for example, we discussed how Old Fashioned Donut appears to be cutting costs by using fewer apples in the apple fritters.

    Reducing portions and extras in order to keep prices low is a valid business practice, especially if you see your customers as being as cash-strapped as you are.
  • Post #13 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:05 am
    Post #13 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:05 am Post #13 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:05 am
    Hombre de Acero wrote:Everything can't be as cheap as a .19cent Fallafel Ball @ Salaam!-


    I hate to break it to you, but the price of a falafel ball at Salam is now .24. :(
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:08 am
    Post #14 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:08 am Post #14 - August 3rd, 2008, 7:08 am
    I hate to break it to you, but the price of a falafel ball at Salam is now .24.


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  • Post #15 - August 3rd, 2008, 9:17 am
    Post #15 - August 3rd, 2008, 9:17 am Post #15 - August 3rd, 2008, 9:17 am
    Hombre de Acero wrote:WHY I WILL NEVER RETURN TO EAT- EVER- AT AL- KHAYMEIH


    It's been a long time since LTH had a good rant ever since TonyC left town. :)
  • Post #16 - August 3rd, 2008, 10:17 am
    Post #16 - August 3rd, 2008, 10:17 am Post #16 - August 3rd, 2008, 10:17 am
    The last time I was at al Khaymeih, I ordered the terrific Cornish Hen, and was aghast when it was served with the usual flavorful rice and - get this - two halves of a grilled tomato. The menu clearly states "all plates are serves with basmati rice and grilled tomatoes (emphasis mine)." When I pointed out to the waitress that two tomato halves add up to only one tomato, and demanded that the restaurant keep its promise, she seemed to pretend not to hear me. She just walked away. This was 2 weeks ago, and the menu still says tomatoes - plural!!!

    sometimes my sarcasm is clear only to me, so in cse: al Khaymeih is among my favorite places in Chicago, and I think the prices and portions are more than fair.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #17 - April 20th, 2009, 5:11 pm
    Post #17 - April 20th, 2009, 5:11 pm Post #17 - April 20th, 2009, 5:11 pm
    My parents joined RAB and I for dinner at Al-Khaymeih last Saturday evening. At 7pm, the restaurant was less than half full. Our reservation was unnecessary.

    This was my second visit. I like the place. No pretensions, simple fresh food. It's nice enough to bring your parents, but still casual and reasonably-priced. The BYO policy is also great.

    Highlights included the tabbouleh, falafel, lentil soup, and chicken shawarma. Unlike Hombre de Acero upthread, we were presented with a side of toum without requesting it. We also had plenty of pita chips, pickles, and pita. And our hot sauce dish was quickly refilled.

    I don't like Al-Khaymeih nearly as much as Salam. But, when I want to drink a glass or two of wine and have a bit of atmosphere, Al-Khaymeih is a good option. The only thing we didn't enjoy was the arabic techno music (at least, that's what I think it was).

    Ronna
  • Post #18 - January 21st, 2010, 10:45 am
    Post #18 - January 21st, 2010, 10:45 am Post #18 - January 21st, 2010, 10:45 am
    We went to Al-K over the weekend and enjoyed an excellent Lebanese meal.

    We started out with an order of the moutabal which is an eggplant spread similar to baba ghanoush only made without tahini. This version was made with diced tomatoes and plenty of lemon juice to give it a pleasant sweet flavor that married well with the roasted eggplant. I really appreciated that they offered an alternative to the ubiquitous baba and the key to any good middle eastern eggplant dish is to really roast the eggplant, which Al-K nailed.

    Image

    We also ordered the hummus with falafel. Hummus has reached a point where lots of restaurants make it well, and Al-K's was as good as many others. However, the falafel was perfect. Thick crispy outside with a well-spiced and soft inside. There's no comparison between these falafels and the ones I've had at Semiramis or Salam. Maybe they were just on that night, but they were freakin on.

    Image

    And of course, what better to go with great middle eastern spreads than soft, charred pita bread.

    Image

    For entrees we had the farouj (cornish hen) and the meat shawarma. The farouj has been well documented. Moist meat with a well formed crust on the outside. Simply outstanding. The shawarma was the lowlight (though not that low) of an exceptional meal. The pieces that didn't have crust on them were a little tough and not as spiced as I would have liked. However the pieces with a nice dark char on them were full flavored and crispy. I'd say the shawarma was good enough, but not a draw in my eyes.

    My biggest complaint from the whole thing was the garlic yogurt they were serving. The yogurt itself was great, and really went well with the grilled meats, but it was not the toum I'm accustomed to. Lebanese toum should be made with lemon, olive oil, and garlic, emulsified into a thick and creamy paste. When made well it has a deep garlic flavor that punches you in the mouth and takes grilled meats to incredible heights. This garlic yogurt was soothing and reminded me of Turkish home cooking (garlic yogurt is a staple in my house), but it was definitely not toum. At least not the toum I'm used to.

    Nonetheless, Al-K is definitely on my short list for middle eastern food for Chicago. It's cheap enough to supplant Salam as my go to for takeout until they get their consistency issues in line, and it was significantly cheaper than Semiramis (and less crowded).
  • Post #19 - November 14th, 2010, 8:56 pm
    Post #19 - November 14th, 2010, 8:56 pm Post #19 - November 14th, 2010, 8:56 pm
    I recommended Al Khaymeih to turkob early this year, and was very glad to hear that he enjoyed his meal. In fact, for several years now I've cosen Al Khaymeih as my favorite eat-in destination on Kedzie, with standout dishes such as the game hen, the roasted cauliflower, and moutabal, and the crispy fish separating it from the pack, in my opinion.

    It's over. Al Khaymeih has a brand new ultra-simplified menu. Roasted cauliflower? Gone. Game hen? Gone. Moutabal? Gone. Crispy fish? Gone. All that's left are the standards you'll find at Middle Eastern restaurants in strip malls across America. The food's not bad, with some especially nicely-seasoned kefta and chunky/ tasty baba ganoush. Some of the other meats were way too dry, the rusting iceberg in the fattoush was just sad, and the falafel were gummy.

    Al Khaymeih of old - where did you go?
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #20 - November 14th, 2010, 9:48 pm
    Post #20 - November 14th, 2010, 9:48 pm Post #20 - November 14th, 2010, 9:48 pm
    Kenny, those were all reasons I often chose A-K over the rest of the Kedzie/Lawrence pack. So dissapointing to hear about this menu change.

    As I expressed elsewhere, I am dissapointed by Chicago's Palestinian/Lebanese places beacause inasmuch as they do some things very very well, few if any of them go out on a limb (and is it really going out on a limb in such a varied and rich food culture?) and offer food beyond the standard canon.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 7:32 am
    Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 7:32 am Post #21 - November 15th, 2010, 7:32 am
    Kennyz wrote:It's over. Al Khaymeih has a brand new ultra-simplified menu. Roasted cauliflower? Gone. Game hen? Gone. Moutabal? Gone. Crispy fish? Gone. All that's left are the standards you'll find at Middle Eastern restaurants in strip malls across America.
    I recommended A K to a Cornish hen loving friend for this weekend, waxed poetic about the roasted cauliflower as well. I hope they got sidetracked as I would hate for them to have wasted a baby sitter night on Middle Eastern standards they could get at Pita Inn.

    Thanks for the heads up Kenny.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 8:15 am
    Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 8:15 am Post #22 - November 15th, 2010, 8:15 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Kennyz wrote:It's over. Al Khaymeih has a brand new ultra-simplified menu. Roasted cauliflower? Gone. Game hen? Gone. Moutabal? Gone. Crispy fish? Gone. All that's left are the standards you'll find at Middle Eastern restaurants in strip malls across America.
    I recommended A K to a Cornish hen loving friend for this weekend, waxed poetic about the roasted cauliflower as well. I hope they got sidetracked as I would hate for them to have wasted a baby sitter night on Middle Eastern standards they could get at Pita Inn.


    I did something similar, waxing poetic about many of the no-longer-available dishes to a wine group I was joining for dinner on Saturday night. Thankfully, the wine was fantastic and the food was just good enough to save me from any serious embarrassment.

    I should note the possibility that my "It's over" statement is an exaggeration. Our server explained that the owner changed the menu a couple of months ago, "just to try out something different," and that she thought he would be changing it back again in another couple of months. That sounds hokey to me, and my speculation is that a cook who knew how to make these dishes left unexpectedly a couple of months ago. I suppose it's possible that he’ll come back or they'll hire someone new who can reproduce the recipes. On a potentially related note, there were 2 cooks in the kitchen on Saturday night, and they were speaking to each other in Spanish.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 9:34 am
    Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 9:34 am Post #23 - November 15th, 2010, 9:34 am
    The cooks at A-K have always spoken Spanish. Not to bregrudge them, or the eastern European server ladies, but it always bothered me that there was rarely a person on site who was actually Arabic. Makes it hard for spur of the moment requests and to recieve an intelligent answer about the food being served.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #24 - December 15th, 2010, 5:46 pm
    Post #24 - December 15th, 2010, 5:46 pm Post #24 - December 15th, 2010, 5:46 pm
    As of a week ago Friday, this place was dark around 8pm, and both numbers were disconnected. I haven't been back to eyeball it, but the phone is still disconnected.
  • Post #25 - December 15th, 2010, 10:45 pm
    Post #25 - December 15th, 2010, 10:45 pm Post #25 - December 15th, 2010, 10:45 pm
    If they did in fact close for good, I'll bet a meal at the Arabic or Assyrian place that replaces it within a few months that an Arabic or Assyrian place will replace it within a few months.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:00 pm
    Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:00 pm Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:00 pm
    Supposedly they had their license suspended for trying to get some plumbing fixed without getting the proper permits:

    Link
  • Post #27 - February 25th, 2012, 1:50 pm
    Post #27 - February 25th, 2012, 1:50 pm Post #27 - February 25th, 2012, 1:50 pm
    Al-Khaymeih is open again, per the Reader:

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar ... l-khaymeih
  • Post #28 - February 26th, 2012, 10:12 pm
    Post #28 - February 26th, 2012, 10:12 pm Post #28 - February 26th, 2012, 10:12 pm
    I was quite happy to hear they reopened. We went today for a late lunch. The place looked the same. Menu included all the items we missed for the last year. I ordered the farouj ($9.95) and my wife ordered a combo chicken plate ($10.95). We also ordered mint tea. We were brought a bowl of pita chips, nicely spiced with sumac, sesame seeds and something else. Also a bowl of what looked to be a little hummus and a lot of tahini, quite good. Very fresh pita and a bowl of pickled turnips and at least a dozen olives. We kwere told the Farouj would take at least 30 minutes (we were the only customers). The mint tea turned out to be a tea bag in a cup, tasty but not really mint. We were never offered refills. The combo plate was a heaping plate of chicken kabob, chicken shawarma, and chicken kefta. Plenty of rice, grilled tomatoes, onion and jalapeño pepper. Word was it was all very tasty and there was plenty for leftovers. As to the farouj, forget the pictures above, it now is two flattened halfs of Cornish horn. Not much char, except the wing ends. Overcooked and dry. Only comes with grilled (very slightly) tomatoes and raw onions with sumac. Nothing like the past.

    A new menu appears in the future as they had a photographer taking pictures of many dishes. When we left there were about a dozen customers and still only has one waitperson. The staff seemed a bit confused, lots of running around. I'm sure it's new ownership as the were bringing dishes from the grocery next store to photograph.

    They've only been open a few days, sign in the window for waitress wanted who speaks English and Arabic. Looking forward to returning.
  • Post #29 - February 26th, 2012, 10:35 pm
    Post #29 - February 26th, 2012, 10:35 pm Post #29 - February 26th, 2012, 10:35 pm
    Ginkgo wrote:As to the farouj, forget the pictures above, it now is two flattened halfs of Cornish horn. Not much char, except the wing ends. Overcooked and dry. Only comes with grilled (very slightly) tomatoes and raw onions with sumac. Nothing like the past.

    A couple days ago our farouj was also overcooked and dry with charred wing tips and leg ends. A broasted chicken came seriously undercooked. A very disappointing visit.

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