DesBrisay Dines

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Lamb kafta made by the grill master at Les Grillades

Expertly grilled meats are the house specialty at Les Grillades. This place is warm and generous in every way.

The Place: When I walked in at 11:30 a.m., Les Grillades, the warm-hearted family-run Lebanese restaurant on Holland Avenue, was empty. But by noon it was packed. It may feel like a secret hideaway, perched high above the street next to Allium, but clearly the secret is out. Ask anyone who works at Tunney’s Pasture and I imagine this is the first place they’d mention if you ask for the fastest, friendliest, and freshest place for lunch in the area.

The Deal: Until this visit, I’d only ever been to Les Grillades for dinner. My dedication to the charcoal-grilled de-boned whole chickens was already firmly established. I discovered many of the lunchtime regulars skip menus and table service and instead line up at the counter to order pita-wrapped sandwiches and either take it to go or seat themselves at a table, cafeteria-style: a surefire way to shave a few minutes off the dining experience. I took the option to sit at a table and order off the complete menu. No matter what you order, prepare for a feast with all sorts of extra goodies included.

The Dish: The lentil soup is irresistible, though totally unnecessary given how much food comes with the main dishes. Squeeze the fresh lemon and drop a few crispy pita chips over the top of the cumin-kissed purée and tell me if there is a more satisfying, soothing soup around. Next, the condiments arrive: a dish of excellent humus with plenty of fresh quartered pita, hot pink pickled radishes, and some potent eyebrow-raising garlic sauce. The lamb kafta consists of two large kebabs packed with fresh parsley and garlic, grilled to perfection. Golden-hued rice, zesty-dressed salad, and a grilled wedge of tomato complete a dish that could easily serve two hungry people.

Hours: Open for Lunch Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m.

Les Grillades, 85 Holland Avenue, 613-792-3224.