By: Bob Gourley
A couple of weeks ago I got a tip about a restaurant that serves classic Mediterranean dishes at great prices. It was definitely worth the visit.
Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Hookah Lounge features a wide range of entrees from Italian to Indian. They are prepared effortlessly by the attentive staff with the freshest ingredients available without trans-fat oils. They do utilize natural preservatives and only certified Angus beef.
Paymon Raouf opened the original location near UNLV back in 1988 as a local deli. After starting up a second location and the addition of a Hookah lounge, the restaurants have evolved to one of those places you will want to visit often.
Appetizers include popular fried calamari that is deep-fried in canola oil and delivered with marinara sauce. A combination platter with vegetarian goodies like hummus, tabuli, stuffed grape leaves and falafel are just calling out to be shared.
A combination dip platter included two dips, Hummus and Baba Ganoush. The Hummus was fine but the Baba Ganoush had a slightly bitter taste.
Italian favorites like Eggplant Parmesan ($13.95) and Chicken Parmesan ($14.95) are prepared the old-fashioned way. Chicken Scaloppini is a highlight. Medallions of meat are sautéed with artichoke hearts, capers and mushrooms with a side of angel hair pasta and ratatouille. If you really want to indulge, order the all-you-can pasta with a choice of sauces for just $10.95.
If you are in the mood for Greek, give the Moussaka a try. The sumptuous casserole is filled with sliced eggplant, onions, potato, ground chuck, fresh herbs and spices. On top is béchamel sauce.
Slightly adventurous patrons might want to take a journey with Fesenjian - a Persian delicacy consisting of boneless chicken breast slowly cooked with crushed walnuts in a tangy semi-sweet pomegranate sauce served with basmati rice. Of course you can find a list of kabobs and combination platters.
One of the standouts is the Broiled Moroccan Lamb Kabob ($20.95). Fresh chunks of top sirloin domestic lamb, marinated with Moroccan seasonings and then rotisserie-cooked, are combined with vermicelli pilaf, house salad and roasted red pepper. On a recent visit the lamb was tender and perfectly cooked.
You can even travel to India with a pick from that part of the menu. Chicken Curry is a classic and this version is prepared with boneless, skinless meat slowly cooked in a homemade curry sauce.
Sandwiches are featured throughout the day, not just at lunch. Gyros are represented with a creation that combines beef and lamb, romaine lettuce, red onions, tomatoes and Greek tzatziki sauce.
A Buffalo Mozzarella Panini is accented with fresh cheese, tomatoes and basil with pesto sauce on one side, and black olive spread on the other. It is toasted for a flavorful crispness.
Desserts like rice pudding and tiramisu wraps things up nicely.
Those looking for a reprieve from the afternoon madness can duck in for Happy Hour every afternoon from 5:00-7:00 pm with greatly reduced food and cocktail prices in the lounge.
They also offer discounted food on certain nights and you may want to pick up one of their house-label spices on the way out. The best of the Mediterranean comes together at Paymon’s!
Paymon’s Mediterranean Café and Hookah, Open every day for lunch and dinner. 4147 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas (702) 731-6030. 8380 W. Sahara, Las Vegas. (702) 804-0293. www.paymons.com.