Go Mediterranean: La Kabob Lebanese Grill

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It’s said that a Mediterranean diet can keep the body healthy by staving off chronic disease, especially cardiovascular problems. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Mediterranean fare also happens to be delicious. The diet consists of an abundance of fruits and veggies, nourishing legumes and rich olive oil paired with moderate amounts of fresh cheese, yogurt, wine and meat. If healthy living means dining like this, sign me up.

Luckily, one needn't travel to Greece, Spain or Southern Italy to indulge in some of that region’s wholesome fare (although a vacation would be nice). La Kabob Lebanese Grill (14228 Pearl Rd., 440-846-5100, lakabobgrill.com) in Strongsville offers a full menu of bona fide Mediterranean cuisine, all made fresh to order.

It's easy to miss this spot among the multitude of shops and restaurants sprawling down Strongsville’s main drag, but it’s a great local, family-run spot to grab a quick and wholesome lunch or dinner. Owner and Lebanon native Tony Abou-Jaoude opened his restaurant in May of 2011 and has been growing the business ever since.

The vegetarian platter is listed as an appetizer, but it certainly works as a meal. The dish consists of a sampling of fresh tabbouli, crispy falafel and stuffed grape leaves, plus creamy hummus and smoky baba ganouj that beg to be mopped up by the restaurant’s chewy-soft pita.

Wraps are a favorite, with all of those tasty ingredients rolled up into one substantial sandwich. Meat lovers can opt for the gyro, with strips of grilled lamb and beef paired with lettuce, tomato and onion, topped with cucumber dressing, and wrapped in a warm pillow of gyro bread.

For a heartier option still, consider an entrée of shawarma or kebobs of chicken, beef or veggie, served with rice pilaf and crunchy vegetables.

Salads, pita pizzas, raw juices and a rotating menu of soups round out La Kabob’s Lebanese menu. Don’t leave without grabbing some baklava for dessert, light layers of flaky phyllo dough generously filled with chopped nuts and drizzles of honey. I’m not sure that baklava is within a Mediterranean diet’s recommended daily allowance, but it’s certainly worth making a sticky-sweet exception.

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