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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Austin
Food
Feel
Price
7.5
5.0
$10
Middle Eastern
Counter service

Hours
Mon–Sat 11:00am–8:30pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

Website

Southeast Austin
1931 E. Oltorf St.
Austin, TX
(512) 444-4344
Jerusalem Gourmet
Strip-mall Middle Eastern food that’s a bit more transportive than the surroundings

Jerusalem Gourmet is a tiny grocery and deli housed in a dingy strip mall in a neighborhood overrun with below-average Southeast Asian dives (you have to head north for the good stuff). There are only a handful of tables, and the décor is minimal—a wall full of dry goods and hookahs, and a few travel posters of Middle East locales and a TV tuned to Al Jazeera to put you in the mood. During lunch, it fills up fast, and you may find yourself taking your lunch to go, or else cozying up to strangers.

Counter service, if mostly friendly, is not terribly fast, but portion sizes are decent and prices reasonable. Many items are offered à la carte, but combo plates let you try a bit of everything. We like the combination of tangy pieces of lemon chicken and savory chopped souvlaki heaped over rice and served with salad; also, deep-fried, fist-sized kibbeh (seasoned ground beef with a side of spiced tahini). The vegetarian plate features dense dolmeh; creamy, smoky baba ghanoush; small, crunchy falafel; and slightly bland hummus. Tabbouleh is lemony but balanced. Ma’amoul, a dry cookie filled with rich, thick date paste, is delicious for dessert.

Jerusalem Gourmet delivers, but with a minimum $50 order; if you’ve got four people, it’s a grand deal. Better, with belly dancing.

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