Sunday, June 15, 2014

Yamas Mediterranean Grill Food Review

Yamas Gyro

What makes the Bethesda dining scene so interesting can be found in its nooks and crannies. Yamas Mediterranean Grill is an area favorite, nestled inside downtown Bethesda: If you weren't looking for it, you might never even know it's there, which would be a downright shame. Yamas definitely qualifies as one of the best fast casual restaurants in all of Bethesda.

Last night's dinner was in celebration of Father's Day, as Brian and I took our dad out for dinner. Casual Mediterranean fare is a safe bet for most folks, and our family is certainly no exception. Yamas' menu has a little bit of everything (from burgers and fries to gyros to pizza) with most dishes under $10. Despite being relatively hidden, Yamas was almost at capacity (on a Sunday night, no less) so we opted for one of two outdoor tables, comfortably shaded by an overhead tree.

Zucchini Fritters

Choices abound, and we started off with Hummus/Pita ($5.95) and an order of Zucchini Fritters ($6.95.) The hummus was rich and delicious, with strips of piping hot pita bread... a must-have with any meal. Unfortunately, the fritters were soggy, not crispy as intended. What a shame, since the homemade yogurt sauce was killer good. The zucchini was well-flavored, but texture is key when you're dealing with fried food.

Hummus with Pita

I ordered a Yamas Gyro Platter (with hand cut fries, $11.95) that was literally overflowing with broiled beef and lamb, and a fresh mix of lettuce, tomatoes and onion with Tzatziki sauce on the side. The word delectable leaps to mind. Meanwhile, my handcut fries were plentiful in number, but flimsy in texture (B-.) Perhaps their fryer was off a little? Seasoning was abundant on the meat, but light on the fries.

Margarita Pizza

Service was stellar and thankfully unobtrusive. Lots of drink refills, napkins and words of encouragement. Why the latter? I was still hungry, of course; and Vahid talked me into a Margarita Pizza (affordably priced at just $8.95.) It didn't take long to regret my greediness decision, as I found the pie to be quite heavy with way too much (gooey) cheese and a tangy, rather unpleasant sauce. To be fair, Yamas isn't known for its pizza: I probably should have ordered a Lamb Burger (like my Dad did) instead. For the record, my brother Brian devoured his Vegetarian Dolmas (grape leaves) and Falafel Platter in record time.

Hand Cut Fries

Rumor has it, they have plans for expansion (possibly to downtown DC) and I can only hope they keep their homestyle food and service in tact. The Bethesda location is an oasis of sorts, which makes up for the random miss (pizza) or two. It's easy to pass the time for an hour or so, ordering small dishes as you go. If you know me at all, that's not really my style; so for a place to change my thinking, that's saying a lot.

Should prices stay the same, Yamas has all the necessary ingredients to make your next visit (and ones after that) special. I love the service, and their gyros/hummus are top-10 caliber. Their menu is abundant, and odds are... they're gonna win you over as well. Yamas (to your health) indeed.