Stuck in Scarborough

May 10, 2010

Review: Tasty Shwarma

2993 Sheppard Ave E ,  Scarborough, ON, M1T3J5

Rich ordered: Falafel, fries, Diet Coke.

Iris ordered: Chicken shwarma

Plus: Quality, quantity.

Minus: The wait, the location of condiments, the pot belly.

prison guards needed out of 10

What is Stuck in Scarborough? It’s restaurant reviews to help those who have to commute to Scarborough everyday for work; For those people who just want to get out of the office for an hour to eat a decent lunch. I will help you find the best eats in Scarberia. Expect some special guests reviews as well.

Rich sez: Today at work I decided to round-up some troops from the office and head out for some falafels and shwarma. The email went something like this:

Subject: LUNCHO

Shwarma?

Leave at 11:30 to beat the rush?

Who’s in?

A lot of people were not too keen on the 11:30am roll out, but if you want to avoid the line up at Tasty Shwarma, you go early or don’t go at all. One thing I recommend as soon as you strut into Tasty is that you try to claim your seats — it fills up fast. We usually put our jackets on chairs or have a group of us with switch-blades sit at tables claiming dibs. 

When you line up to place your order you might be taken aback by the 3 or 4 workers behind the counter who may or may not be straight out of prison, but whatever. Tasty Shwarma has combos with a choice of salad or fries and a drink. I say hit up the fries, they are thick cut, made to order, and like Mc Donald’s, they salt the shite out of them. On this occasion, I had the falafel combo. The falafel balls are also made to order so it takes about 7 -10 minutes to get your lunch all situated. It’s definitely worth it.

After a few customers pass me who ordered shwarma instead of falafel, my hunger grew. As I stood there waiting, I imagined jumping the counter and just falafel-bobbing into the deep fryer. Then becoming some super-mangled-faced falafel villain who terrorizes the locals at Scarborough Town Centre. FINALLY, I am nudged by my friend Iris, and I snap out of my food-deprivation daydream. After I passed the line up of 15 to pick up my order,  I headed over to the garbage bin where they keep the condiments. My orange cafeteria-style tray has a wax paper on it so I dumped my fries out and smothered them with ketchup and vinegar.  As we sat and un-wrapped our half-moon sandwiches, I could feel the eyes gazing, everybody in line staring at us with a hungry hatred. I made sure that I made my first mouthful a good one. After the first few bites I found my self searching for the spiciness I ordered. It was nowhere to be found. Sad, but the crunchy pink pickled turnips, on the other hand, are slammin’. Also, the toasty wrap and the spices in the light brown falafel balls tickle your taste buds. I always leave my paper wrapped around the falafel, so I avoid a messy drip at the end.

And in the end I feel… full. I ate way too much. I wish I wore my jeans with the elastic waist band. But it is so good. It is a nice treat-yourself kind of lunch. One last, but important, note — don’t forget to bring cash. They don’t take debit.

Iris sez: Like Rich said, I was pretty reluctant to go to Tasty Shwarma at 11:30. After all, I just ate a giant cheese scone for breakfast like an hour ago and I wasn’t hungry at all. But after Rich told me how PACKED the place usually gets, I reluctantly followed along.

The place was actually pretty empty when we got there—only 2 men were waiting for their shwarma order. I gave Rich the seriously-we-came-out-here-early-for-this? look. But the line was out the door in the span of 10 minutes between when I first made my order, and when I sat down with my meal. So I guess Rich was totally right about the long line up. I originally wanted to order the shwarma meal with tabouli, thinking I could eat it while humming this song. Then I overheard Rich and our coworker, Jeff, waxing enthusiastically over the crispy, salty fresh-cut fries. Well, Rich had been right so far already, might as well follow his lead again.
The thing that struck me the most at Tasty Shwarma was how juicy that chicken looked. I was further filled with glee when, upon receiving my order, the man carved off my serving of chicken straight from the giant rotisserie. None of my meat was carved out ahead of time and left sitting on the counter only to be microwaved later. For someone who’s used to the plebeian shwarma offerings of Ghazale and Ali Baba on College street, this was a delightful surprise. 
My shwarma was stuffed with the usual tomato/lettuce/pickled turnip toppings and a generous serving of hot sauce and hummus. Not that these weren’t tasty toppings, but the flavour of the chicken eclipsed my memory so much that I couldn’t recall what the non-chicken ingredients tasted like. However, I do remember the fries being absolutely delicious. It took some concentrated effort, but I finished the whole meal, fries an all. It was a LOT of food. I was ready to lapse into a food coma in the car on the way back to the office. 
Of course the only downside to a 11:30 lunch was heading back to office and realized there’s still 5 hours of work ahead of me. But Tasty Shwarma made it worth it. 
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