After two weeks with the second highest vote total, Petra was up to the plate. Amanda and I made our way to 3602 West Lake Road early Monday night. For those of you who do not know, Petra is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant with a wide array of dishes. We just happened to be the only table when we arrived, but that just means better service, right? The inside of the restaurant seemed to have recently been painted and the holiday decorations really gave it a comfy feel. One of the first things I noticed is that Petra now has their liquor license so it is no longer B.Y.O.B. We were greeted by our server, Tony, who was fantastic. He went through full descriptions of nine nightly specials, as well as giving us his recommendations from the menu. From fresh escolar to butternut squash ravioli, they had a wide selection for a Monday night.
While we were deciding, Tony brought us some pita with dipping oil and spices. We decided on an order of hummus as an appetizer and two of the recommendations from Tony. Amanda ordered the escolar on special, and I went with a basil pesto shrimp and lump crab penne. Each entree came with our choice of either the house lentil soup or the Soup Du Jour which was a chicken curry and rice. We both went with the latter.
The hummus arrived first. The homemade hummus was lightly seasoned and topped with paprika and drizzled with olive oil. The paprika was really accentuated by the oil and was delicious. The soup and our meal followed shortly after we finished the hummus. The soup was fantastic. The curry had just the right amount of spice that caught you just after swallowing. The chicken was tender, and made for a fantastic way to start the meal. Amanda’s escolar looked great. With a side of mixed vegetables and saffron rice, the plate was beautifully colorful. Escolar is typically a thicker cut of fish. Here, it was breaded with a panko breadcrumb mixture and topped with a sauce of tomatoes, black olives, garlic, and white wine. Because the fish is so mild, the sauce was extremely overpowering. The tomatoes were far too acidic which leads me to think there was too much oregano, and the olives took over the rest of the flavor. Amanda had to scrape off most of the topping to get the taste of the fish. I think a simple wine sauce would have gone much better. It was good to try, but probably something we wouldn’t order again.
My meal looked awesome. The bowl that it came in was huge and covered in shredded Parmesan cheese. The penne pasta was tossed in a garlic basil pesto with some lump crab meat, large shrimp and even more cheese. The dish was slightly oily, but it didn’t affect the flavor. The shrimp were cooked to perfection, and the bowl was filled with them. I think the dish would have been made better if a little heat was introduced to it; maybe some pepper flakes or cayenne powder. I was very satisfied with my food, and it made for a fantastic lunch the next day.
Dishes at Petra can range from $10-$30. There were many specials that I would love to come back and try — as well as other items on their normal menu — so I hope to return soon. Tony was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about the food, and I thank him for the great service. Next week will be an all Italian week so make sure you come back and vote everyday.
Until next week,
Andrew — Beard vs. Food