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Roti Mediterranean, Palatine (and all other locations)

Roti Mediterranean, Palatine (and all other locations)
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  • Post #31 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:04 pm
    Post #31 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:04 pm Post #31 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:04 pm
    I agree that its part Pita Inn and part Chipotle, that was my immediate reaction! I like it though.

    I will say though that the sauces and ingredients are confusing and I didn't notice they were labeled until the second time I went.

    I love the Whole Foods next to it too (in reply to someone else who said that).
    Hillary
    http://chewonthatblog.com <--A Chicago Food Blog!
  • Post #32 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:33 pm
    Post #32 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:33 pm Post #32 - December 3rd, 2008, 2:33 pm
    I work in the same building as the downtown location.

    They have decent falafel, but they're really pricey for the amount of food you receive. I think the food is 50% off after 3 pm, though. (downtown store only, I assume)
  • Post #33 - January 11th, 2009, 3:32 pm
    Post #33 - January 11th, 2009, 3:32 pm Post #33 - January 11th, 2009, 3:32 pm
    what happened to the rest of this thread ?
  • Post #34 - January 11th, 2009, 3:56 pm
    Post #34 - January 11th, 2009, 3:56 pm Post #34 - January 11th, 2009, 3:56 pm
    It seems to be here:

    viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13373
    :?:
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  • Post #35 - January 12th, 2009, 8:12 am
    Post #35 - January 12th, 2009, 8:12 am Post #35 - January 12th, 2009, 8:12 am
    Hi,

    This was split from Openings, Closing, ect., because there was enough useful information as well as a review to be its own topic. Obviously I forgot to change the topic title.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #36 - January 12th, 2009, 12:06 pm
    Post #36 - January 12th, 2009, 12:06 pm Post #36 - January 12th, 2009, 12:06 pm
    The Loop outpost is right next door to my office. I brown bag probably 90+% of the time, but drop in there on occasion. They seem to make a real effort (and also seem to be struggling, based on recent emails from them) and while it's pretty good, I wish it was just a bit better and a bit cheaper. One has to order carefully.
    They're not really a felafel stand so I haven't even tried them, since you can see them resting in the warming tray and you know you're never going to get a recently fried one. I like their "chicekn roti" well enough, a sort of pseudo-shawerma.
    I know that their fire-roasted veggies were fire-roasted a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but it seems the technology for capturing and holding flavor and texture has gotten so good, that they're still very nice. Real char and good crunch throughout.
    I wish they'd add some character to their hummos and baba.
    I like their various sauces for the sandwiches pretty well.
    They do a version of breakfast as well. Egg combo things on pita or flatbread they call "strata," but I haven't tried them. (Potbelly seems to me to be unbeatable price/value for a quick breafast sandwich.)
    Definitely worth a try, though I think the Cafe Baci that opened nextdoor to them shortly after they opened has hurt them. It's just a tad spiffier and shinier, with a slightly wider range of more familiar types of offerings.
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #37 - January 12th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    Post #37 - January 12th, 2009, 8:14 pm Post #37 - January 12th, 2009, 8:14 pm
    I used my promotional letter (one free dish) and tried the Northbrook location for dinner tonight. In a nutshell, it was ok. As many others have stated, while the food is of a different skew, the overall experience is very Chipotle-like. The space was bright and clean. Prices were fairly reasonable, with sandwiches at $6.50 and entrees ranging from $6.50 for chicken to $8.50 for salmon (which we did not try).

    My favorite item -- by far -- was the Venetian plate with Steak Roti. I implored the friendly counter guy to cut it directly off the spit (rather than scoop it from the hotel pan on the steam table) and it was worth the polite, minor resistance I encountered. The steak was really well charred, moist and had good flavor, even if it was a bit salty. Nothing about it struck me as particularly Mediterranean but it was good on its own terms. Chicken Roti, which we also tried, was not nearly as good. We were told that the spit containing it was not fully cooked, so we had no choice but to accept the steam table inventory, and the texture was uniformly soft. The flavor here was also pretty bland. It really paled in comparison to the steak.

    The plates came with some salads, which were ok: hummus, baba gannoush, Israeli cous-cous and tomato-cucumber salad. While it was easy to assess the meat on its own terms -- I'd never had Roti before -- it was impossible for me not to compare the salads to other versions, and these came up pretty short. I thought the hummus lacked depth and banged a one-note acidity that overwhelmed everything else. The baba conveyed some smokiness and I actually liked the somewhat dry texture but it had a sweet finish, which seemed out of place. Cous-cous was perfectly fine -- and I was happy to see such an uncommonly found item -- but the flavor was not to my liking. The lightly vinegared tomato-cucumber salad just seemed like a dumbed down version of Jerusalem salad and it made me wonder -- as I always do -- why, in Janauary, anyone even bothers to serve fresh tomatoes. These tomatoes were, unfortunately, not exceptional in that regard.

    The Gibraltar plate was comprised of the same salads that accompanied the Venetian plates but with cold, grilled veggies in place of the meats. The vegetables were, for the most part, tasty and nicely crunchy. My personal preference would have been for more eggplant and squash and less bell peppers but some folks like bell peppers and at least there was a nice section of red in addition to the obligatory green one. The mushrooms could have been more cooked but that's a minor quibble.

    I really didn't care for the falafel, which was extremely soft and creamy (i.e. mushy) on the interior. The flavor was decent and the thin, outer shell was pretty crisp for falafel that had been sitting around for a while but I couldn't get past the interior, which just wasn't right, IMO. It was more of a croquette than a falafel. I chatted with the owner and the (executive?) chef about this on my way out. I asked if this was intentional, because I've eaten quite a bit of falafel in my day and never encountered that texture before. They said it was, and asked if I liked it. I admitted that while the flavor was good, it wasn't my cup of tea. I prefer a drier, more granular interior. The owner then asked me if I liked Pita Inn. I told him that I liked it very much and he told me that Roti's falafel beat Pita Inn's falafel 92-6 in a taste test. I was so stunned by this information -- because Roti's product seemed like a blown batch to me, relative to Pita Inn's (which isn't even close to my favorite) -- that I couldn't even muster a follow-up question. :)

    I tried 2 sauces and again, neither transcended. The tahina was very thick and I wished I had some lemon juice to stir into it. The "very" hot sauce had a wee bit of bite but it was tomato-based, so there was a definite ceiling on how hot it was going to be. Because of its color, it resembled something I thought would be much hotter (like harissa) but it was just spicy tomato chutney.

    Would I go back? Yes, because I think their food is whole and relatively healthy -- and the steak Roti off the spit was very tasty. But it's not a place I could ever see craving or making a destination. It does seem to aim for the middle of the road and because of that, it seems somewhat devoid of soul. There's absolutely nothing funky about it (which might be a positive in some eyes) and while right now there appear to be only 2 locations, Roti just feels like a chain, where standardization and reproduceabilty are more important in the overall scheme than actual food quality. Still, in the intersection between what they are doing and what I typically seek, there is a time and a place when Roti might be the right call.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #38 - January 13th, 2009, 12:50 pm
    Post #38 - January 13th, 2009, 12:50 pm Post #38 - January 13th, 2009, 12:50 pm
    I truly wonder how places like Roti that are buried in the middle of an shopping center can stay in business. You can't see it from either Willow or Waukegan. I only found out about it by my eye catching the temporary sign along Willow Road. Maybe it's just me.
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #39 - January 13th, 2009, 2:14 pm
    Post #39 - January 13th, 2009, 2:14 pm Post #39 - January 13th, 2009, 2:14 pm
    Dave148 wrote:I truly wonder how places like Roti that are buried in the middle of an shopping center can stay in business. You can't see it from either Willow or Waukegan. I only found out about it by my eye catching the temporary sign along Willow Road. Maybe it's just me.

    I agree that the location is terrible because it's simply not visible from either Waukegan or Willow Roads and there seems to be no mention of it on the signs that face either roadway. If I hadn't heard about the place via e-mail, I would have never known about it . . . and I shop at that shopping center with some regularity. Perhaps they're counting on the traffic from other, more observant shoppers being enough to drive their business.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #40 - January 13th, 2009, 4:15 pm
    Post #40 - January 13th, 2009, 4:15 pm Post #40 - January 13th, 2009, 4:15 pm
    I know from my daughter they visited Glenbrook North High School with samples and coupons to drum up business. We haven't tried it yet.
    Paulette
  • Post #41 - July 6th, 2009, 9:38 pm
    Post #41 - July 6th, 2009, 9:38 pm Post #41 - July 6th, 2009, 9:38 pm
    Hi,

    I saw another location of Roti Mediterranean on Route 45 just west of Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #42 - July 6th, 2009, 9:52 pm
    Post #42 - July 6th, 2009, 9:52 pm Post #42 - July 6th, 2009, 9:52 pm
    There's one of these at 10 S. Riverside (corner of Canal & Monroe, between Union Station & Ogilvie station, across the river from the Loop proper) just across the street from my office building. It gets crazy busy for lunch, and the meats have always been nice & juicy (I think Octarine is onto something with the busy/juicy theory).

    The falafels are a bit odd though: beautifully crispy on the outside, weirdly mushy on the inside. Maybe they keep their oil too hot?

    Though their flatbread wraps/pita sandwiches are tasty, the big problem I have with the place is that a sandwich & a drink ends up costing a bit over $8...fine once in a while, but a bit too pricey for more frequent visits.
  • Post #43 - July 6th, 2009, 10:26 pm
    Post #43 - July 6th, 2009, 10:26 pm Post #43 - July 6th, 2009, 10:26 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:The falafels are a bit odd though: beautifully crispy on the outside, weirdly mushy on the inside. Maybe they keep their oil too hot?

    I posted this back in January on the Roti/Northbrook thread:

    ronnie_suburban wrote:I really didn't care for the falafel, which was extremely soft and creamy (i.e. mushy) on the interior. The flavor was decent and the thin, outer shell was pretty crisp for falafel that had been sitting around for a while but I couldn't get past the interior, which just wasn't right, IMO. It was more of a croquette than a falafel. I chatted with the owner and the (executive?) chef about this on my way out. I asked if this was intentional, because I've eaten quite a bit of falafel in my day and never encountered that texture before. They said it was, and asked if I liked it. I admitted that while the flavor was good, it wasn't my cup of tea. I prefer a drier, more granular interior. The owner then asked me if I liked Pita Inn. I told him that I liked it very much and he told me that Roti's falafel beat Pita Inn's falafel 92-6 in a taste test. I was so stunned by this information -- because Roti's product seemed like a blown batch to me, relative to Pita Inn's (which isn't even close to my favorite) -- that I couldn't even muster a follow-up question. :)

    Needless to say, despite its proximity to my house, I'm not much of a fan of Roti, and have not returned.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #44 - July 6th, 2009, 11:30 pm
    Post #44 - July 6th, 2009, 11:30 pm Post #44 - July 6th, 2009, 11:30 pm
    Wow, so it's not a quirk confined to the one closest to me, but looks to be a company policy to make their falafels that way. I'm not a fan either.
  • Post #45 - July 7th, 2009, 8:38 am
    Post #45 - July 7th, 2009, 8:38 am Post #45 - July 7th, 2009, 8:38 am
    I prefer a drier, more granular interior. The owner then asked me if I liked Pita Inn. I told him that I liked it very much and he told me that Roti's falafel beat Pita Inn's falafel 92-6 in a


    What an odd way for a business owner to insult one of his customers. Was that his way of telling you that he thinks you have no taste?

    Wouldn't a smarter thing have been for him to give you a sample of the Shwarma and say "Here, try this, it might be more to your liking"
  • Post #46 - October 18th, 2011, 1:43 pm
    Post #46 - October 18th, 2011, 1:43 pm Post #46 - October 18th, 2011, 1:43 pm
    i just stumbled into this place (205 w. randolph) for lunch today and was extremely impressed. i did a quick search on LTH and see a few lukewarm mentions. but even though i've only eaten here once, i feel it deserves a very positive post. this place is cafeteria style: you pick a base(pita, salad,or wrap), and then add stuff. i went with the wrap. i was sure it would fall apart while eating, but it was quite sturdy (served with one flattened end, and 1 open end), but not cardboardy. every individual item i chose had a distinct, and fresh, flavor, and the sandwich itself was quite harmonious. here's what i had: steak (tender, yet chewy); sumac marinated red onions; red pepper aoili; babaganoush; spanish eggplant/tomatoes; marinated carrots/broccoli. on line one can see a list of all the ingredients, i didnt see it while i was choosing so i wasn't sure how all these flavors would meld, but they did. it was a very generous sized sandwich, and with tax it was $7, and change. it was good and healthy enough so i will go back next time i need a quick meal downtown. other options include chicken, or roasted vegetables as the main ingredient. i was so happy that i emailed corporate HQ to thank them for my meal! justjoan
  • Post #47 - October 18th, 2011, 1:50 pm
    Post #47 - October 18th, 2011, 1:50 pm Post #47 - October 18th, 2011, 1:50 pm
    That location is literally across the street from my office.
    I eat there about once a month and I've never had a bad meal. I've never been blown away either but I do enjoy the Mediterranean chopped chicken salad.
  • Post #48 - April 7th, 2021, 7:29 pm
    Post #48 - April 7th, 2021, 7:29 pm Post #48 - April 7th, 2021, 7:29 pm
    Roti, the Chicago-based fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain, is permanently closing 14 of its 42 restaurants nationwide, including six in Illinois.
    https://apple.news/ATwthT21PTLq5KxfYNfuUGw
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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