Hate onions? Put ketchup on your ketchup? We all have unique likes and dislikes, so when you hear about a new restaurant, whether it be from a foodie or someone who lives off of toaster pastries, you don’t know if their tastes align with your own. So, instead of reading a review from one source, take it from four members of our team. Even though we are woefully underqualified to review a restaurant, at least one of us will likely share some of your distinct tastes.
For this issue, the PressureLife crew visited Ferris Shawarma. Ferris–not the steakhouse–has been around on Lakewood Heights Boulevard for years, but the restaurant gave locals quite a scare when it closed down for renovations late last year. Now that it’s been back open for a couple months, it was time to revisit Ferris to try out an assortment of Middle Eastern favorites. Our crew stopped by for a to-go order during the polar vortex and found that it was well worth braving the cold.
This shit is legit. If I could walk around with Ferris’ hummus, hot sauce, and chicken shawarma in my pocket at all times, I 100 percent would. The fattoush salad was refreshing with a floral essence to it. I couldn’t tell you what the spice/herb mixture was, but I enjoyed it. The shish tawouk sandwich had that similar essence which took their chicken to a D3 (different delicious direction). The falafel was moist, well seasoned, and wasn’t a dry hockey puck. If you’ve ever had falafel, you know what I mean. If you like some cocktails with your dinner, the to-go service was fast and accommodating. I was pleased in everything we tried, except the kanafa, but that’s only because I don’t like sweets.
There wasn’t a single item that I tried that I didn’t love. Scratch that, the fries weren’t anything special, but they served me well as vehicles for the garlic and hot sauces. Oh lord, those sauces… I’m a garlic fiend, so it hit me right in my happy spot. The beef shawarma dipped in the sauces was divine. Chicken shawarma with hummus? Tremendous. The fattoush had more herby goodness than a dispensary. I’m not even a big falafel fan, but the sandwich was mighty tasty. The kanafa was also a nice surprise, even if it was served cold. It was so good that I went to get more shawarma a week after we went for this review.
What an absolute delight. Every item I tasted had more authenticity than eating food in the actual Middle East. With a middle name like Mahmoud, you might want to take my word for it. The shish tawouk was marinated and grilled perfectly. The hummus was the best hummus I have ever had. I swear on the Quran. The kanafa dessert is a conglomeration of what I might describe as a mozzarella stick and cheesecake if you can even imagine such a thing. It’s best served hot and Ferris himself warned me it would get cold quickly. It did, but I had no qualms with that. Ferris obviously knows exactly what he’s doing and I thank him and Allah for his food. I plan to eat there every week.
Side note: It was like the movie Multiplicity in there. There were 25 Arab guys who all seemed to look exactly alike. All with cell phone accessories. I think I might be engaged to six of them already. There’s a good chance they’re first cousins with my first cousins, if you know what I mean.
Cleveland is on this wild culinary upswing where you can find Fernet milkshakes or $30 burgers at every turn. What if you’re on your way home and you just want some food because you’ve procrastinated on some deadlines and you’re pregnant girlfriend is starving? Ferris Shawarma is there for you. We pretty much ordered the entire menu, and nothing fell flat. I would order our dessert again, and I don’t think I’ve ever said that. I spent most of my 20s as a vegetarian, so I ordered the falafel wrap to see where it ranked against the 40 million falafel wraps I’ve eaten. It ranked very high, although it was the least exciting dish that we ordered, except maybe the fries, but you can only take a french fry so far. The most exciting for me was the chicken shawarma with hummus. Dump some of the hot sauce on anything you order and you’re in for a treat. The whole experience inside the restaurant screamed of authenticity. We took it to go because there is no bar, and that’s kind of a necessary part of dining for us. In the words of the great James Earl Brassfield, “I need to fill my belly with that good chicken!” In short, Ferris is quick, delicious, cheap, and the real deal.