For years, Ferris Deli (13507 Lakewood Heights Blvd., 216-252-3354) has quietly been putting out amazing Middle Eastern food from its out-of-the-way home in Lakewood. If you’re a fan of La Plaza, the Mexican grocery store with authentic tacos, you likely have driven right past it.
Like many ethnic restaurants trying to draw broad crowds, Ferris for years put forward a menu that mixed Lebanese standards with more accessible American foods. But wisely, the small restaurant recently pared down the menu considerably, jettisoning salads, sandwiches and burgers, instead focusing on just a handful of Middle Eastern offerings.
When your beef shawarma is this good, there’s really no need to flip burgers.
Walk in to Ferris, a modest shop with a handful of tables, and you’ll spot a trio of spinning-meat towers. Each is stacked with marinated pieces of Halal chicken or beef, depending on the dish. As they spin, the insides gently cook while the outsides get nicely charred from the heat source. When ordered, the chicken or beef shawarma is thinly sliced and utilized in sandwiches and platters. In place of the typical thick and heavy pita bread, Ferris uses a thin lavash-like wrap, giving the sandwiches a lighter feel.
Order the Beef Shawarma Platter ($8.50) and you'll receive a plate crowded with a tightly bundled foot-long wrap, sliced into easy-to-eat rounds, a mountain of hot and crispy fries, creamy coleslaw, Arabic pickles, and about a half-pound of extra shawarma on top for good measure. The best part of the platter might just be the garlic sauce, which puts ketchup to shame when it comes to french fry partners.
Also on the Ferris bill of fare are hummus, fattoush, falafel and shish tawook, or marinated and grilled chicken shish kebabs. Ferris also sells fried chicken, which I’m told is the sleeper hit of the entire place.
Next time, fried chicken. Next time.