I was beaten to the punch by every print publication from Columbus in reviewing Lavash Café. Alive beat me. The Dispatch beat me. ThisWeek beat me. Even other Web sites like MetroMix beat me. I admit defeat. I'll still eat vegetarian amidst the ashes.
Lavash Café is the new Mediterranean venture from the old proprietor of Firdous. It is located in the same plaza as Hungry Howies in Clintonville. As with most other restaurants of this type, there are tons of options for vegetarians on the menu.
You place your order at the counter at Lavash, and they call your name when your order is ready. The name of the establishment comes from the fluffy Turkish bread in which many of the sandwiches can be rolled. The decor is colorful and modern.
Vegetarian starters include hummus (in both chickpea and black bean varieties), baba ghanoush, grape leaves, falafel, various fatayer preparations, lentil soup and assorted salads. The baba (pictured above) was rich, smoky and delicious.
The falafel sandwich was quite good. The falafel was nicely spiced. I ordered it wrapped in lavash bread, although it could also be stuffed in pita bread.
There are also a number of vegetarian entrees, including mojadara, which is rice and lentils cooked with special herbs and spices topped with carmelized onions. Prices on all items come in south of $10. There is no alcohol on the menu, but there are plenty of coffees, teas, smoothies and Pepsi products to quench your thirst.
The neighbors will have to decide for themselves whether Lavash is better or worse than Aladdin's. I like both well enough that my stomach wins the battle.