Recently, I ventured to Chai Shai, a small Palestinian restaurant located at 651 E. 59th St., just a 3-minute drive from Rockhurst campus. The establishment is about the size of the smallest Rockhurst lecture hall and seats about 15 tables. With a dim and warm atmosphere, the restaurant is ideal for a pair of friends to enjoy a nice meal on a Saturday evening. Even though the restaurant is slightly cramped, we were able to be seated right away.
The lights were low, setting the mood, and small candles illuminated the restaurant. Each table was filled with an array of foods I had never before tried.
My friend and I ordered the lamb korma and lamb dal. The food came out within five to ten minutes after ordering. The lamb korma resembled a stew and was served in a small, tin bowl surrounded by toasted naan flatbread and rice. The lamb dal was served in a similar fashion, vegetables and lamb on a bed of rice, surrounded by naan.
Instead of forks and knives, we used the naan to scoop the stew-like medleys of meat and vegetables. At first, I thought the dish would not fill me up, but I was full by the time our plates were cleared.
Both dishes were delicious. There was a mix of spices that caught my palate by surprise and satisfied my taste buds. The unique combination gave the food a pop of flavor, and had the added bonus of clearing my sinuses. While the food had a spicy kick, it was less extreme than a hot pepper. The spice even seemed to warm up the room.
We each made it halfway through the meal before he had to throw in the napkin. Although it was good, the bread made it filling. All we wanted to do after eating was sit very still. For the amount of food, our bill was surprisingly cheap—less than $40.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience, with so many pleasing aspects.
While the food was delicious, I would only return if I had a specific craving for it, for it’s not my everyday cup of tea. If you are looking to try new cuisine, Chai Shai is highly recommended, especially if you want some warmth on a windy day.