When I was growing up my mom had a close friend who was Lebanese. I can remember countless summer days spent in her kitchen with the exotic scents of za’atar and olive oil wafting through the air. Pita breads, fresh tabbouleh, meat sticks and kibbee were things I had never tasted before, but in her kitchen they became the most amazing dishes I had ever eaten.
Three years ago, I was intrigued when my Mom told me she had found an authentic Mediterranean restaurant for me to try here in San Antonio, Pasha on Wurzbach. The tabbouleh tasted just like the one from my memories: the sliced gyro meat and the salad dressing made me feel like I had been transported back to my childhood. Since then Pasha has expanded to a location even closer to me at Blanco and 1604. My husband, ever the discerning chef, says he can taste a distinct difference between the two, in the meats and preparation, but for me it’s still perfection.
The dish that gets me going is the Gyro plate with the sides of salad and baba ghanoush substituted for tabbouleh and Pasha potatoes. These components make the perfect ingredients for constructing the most amazing tacos. I know, yes, tacos. When you sit down you’re greeted with a huge near pizza-sized hot flat bread. Your server will dribble some olive oil on a plate of za’atar spices for you to dip and you’re basically in carb heaven until your food arrives.
So, what I do is tear off pieces of this amazing bread, add some gyro meat, tabbouleh, some of their amazing tzatziki sauce and make tiny yummy tacos. Yes, I do strange things with food, but when I’m tearing into this dish with reckless abandon I don’t care what you or anyone else eating near me is thinking. I’m just praying the waiter will bring me more of the amazing fire red (and as spicy as it looks!) sauce they keep near the wait station to slather on the rest of my mini tacos.
There are other things on the menu too. My hubby swears by the chicken kabob, which is not as plain Jane as it sounds. Of course it’s chunks of tender chicken that’s been roasted on a skewer, but the marinate that contains a subtle and exotic mix of saffron and lemon that makes it impossible to stop eating. We’ve tried to share our dishes in the past. It rarely works out.
I’ve wanted to try the Ghormeh Sabzi “stew” with an intoxicating blend of beef, fenugreek and Persian spices, but just cant tear away from the gyro plate and the endless combinations it offers. They also have desserts, a glossy baklava studded with green pistachios among others, but I’ve never been able to stop gorging myself on the flat bread to even think about saving room for dessert.
To me Pasha is comfort food in its highest form. It gets a little loud and packed at times, but to have a bit of satisfying, deeply comforting food, it’s totally worth the wait.
Zabrina Rapozo is step beyond foodie, more like fanatic. She seriously decided to marry to husband because of something he cooked, and yes, he is a professional Chef. She loves the experiences food offers by way of entertaining, making connections with people and learning about different cultures.