A decade in the making, owner Shadi Ramli is finally ready to unleash his long-awaited Middle Eastern palace, Masada, on Logan Square at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Ramli whittled down the menu from more than 60 items to the mix of small plates, kebabs, entrees, salads and wraps you see below.
Drawn from his mother's recipes (the restaurant is also named after her), many of the dishes are recognizable while others feature organ meats, sauces, sides and preparations other Middle Eastern restaurants may not serve. Both the chicken sumac roulette, rolled in a flaky shrak bread, and the tish tosh (salted cod) should be among the more popular dishes. Many of the items cut from the opening menu will appear as specials.
On the beverage side, Masada offers a selection of craft cocktails that employs recognizable preparations with some interesting ingredients, most with no more than three parts. There's also seven selections of the Middle Eastern liquor arak, a small by-the-glass wine list, craft beers, coffees, teas, and juices.
Expect relaxed lunch service, more formal dinner service, and live music and entertainment in the subterranean lounge and bar on some nights.
The menus fit into Ramli's hope that Masada will be the Middle Eastern restaurant and lounge that he feels Chicago is lacking—entertaining, classy, gritty, and authentic. The Sultan's Market owner decided to "just build one," saying "I can't be that falafel guy forever."
After a decade of work, it finally opens to the public tomorrow for regular lunch and dinner service—every day from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Read the full menus below and click here to see the whole palace.
· Masada, Sultan's Market Owner's Long-Awaited Middle Eastern Palace [-ECHI-]
· Masada [Official Site]