Aladdin's Purple Cafe
I'm always wary of places that is a combination restaurant and hookah bar. Most of the time, you can still smell the variety of flavored tobacco that was smoked inside. Aladdin's Purple Cafe was a surprise. The ventilation system must be really good because I couldn't smell much smoke lingering in the air. Of course that's not the focus of my visit; it's all about the food.
|Spinach Pie $3|
Looking through the menu, I just couldn't resist the spinach pie. The Purple Cafe is a Mediterranean-based restaurant so I thought the pie would be a lot like a spanakopita. I was right. It's more wrapped in phyllo dough than layered. The pie is stuffed full of spinach and feta cheese. I didn't like the cucumber yogurt sauce that came on the side though. It's chunks of cucumber and not shredded. I was not impressed.
|Kafta Kabab sandwich $6|
I had the kafta kabab sandwich for lunch. It's a mixture of ground lamb and beef, seasoned with a bunch of spices and grilled. It's served in a pita bread along with some greens, onion, tomato and onion. I thought the meat was really good. It was nice and juicy but still has that charred, smokey taste. The sandwich was a little hard to eat because the kafta wasn't sliced up. Otherwise my only other complaint was that the sandwich didn't come with a side. I finished my sandwich and was still a little hungry.
|Royal Lamb sandwich $6|
My brother had the Royal Lamb sandwich. It was described as chunks of lamb seasoned and served with all the "fixins." What it turned out to be was slices of meat instead of chunks and there wasn't a lot of that. The meat got lost in the fluffiness of the bread and the array of toppings. I couldn't even taste the distinct flavors of the lamb unless I ate a bite by itself. This needed either more meat in the sandwich or the meat needed to be more flavor to compensate for the amount in the sandwich. Again, no side means a hungry little brother .
My friend had a chicken gyro, which she says was tasty but nothing spectacular. We spent about $25 and for the most part left unsatisfied.
The layout of this place really confuses me. One side is lined with booths and tables and the other has a pool table, a Foosball table and what look like a lounge area surrounded by curtains. I'm told that's where people go to smoke their hookah. I would have switched it around a little bit to make it more open and airy. I don't think it's very family friendly because there's really nowhere to put a highchair and not have it in the way. The restaurant side is quite small. It's more like an alley crammed with booths on sides and tables in the middle. Without the tables, it would be slightly more family friendly. However, I wouldn't bring children somewhere that allows smoking inside the restaurant. The service was adequate. Nothing spectacular but I have no complaints either.