Hunger for the Mediterranean

Category:  Food & Drink
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 2:15 PM
Hunger for the Mediterranean by Miriam Lamey
Maitham Basha-Agha

When you crave New York City street cart-style, grease-and-tahini-running-down-your-arm falafel in Erie, you might think you’ll have to resign yourself to a nice Google image and then heat up last night’s leftovers.

But if you have leftovers from Petra Restaurant on West Lake Road, then you have something more promising and delightful than any image or rubbery mac and cheese. You have the real deal.

Petra promises no greasy fare yet does bring forth a wealth of subtly-flavored food, very familiar to those acquainted with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. However, the restaurant and menu mark an excellent starting point for those who want to try this fare for the first time in a comfortable setting. Dishes are authentic, fresh, tasty – and elegant. 

Instead of a foil-wrapped falafel sandwich, you receive a generously stuffed pita or balanced appetizer order of the crispy, fluffy – not oily – chickpea delights that come with a light and creamy tahini sauce.

Petra offers more than falafel, with a large but mostly simple menu: kebabs over rice, specialty Mediterranean entrees, and a unique dish or two that the waitstaff are happy to explain.

And of course, Petra offers more than falafel, with a large but mostly simple menu: kebabs over rice, specialty Mediterranean entrees, and a unique dish or two that the waitstaff are happy to explain. 

Portions are generous and cooked entirely to order – the Salmon Alexandria was just as rare inside as was requested, and the lamb kebabs were likewise as well-done. 

The prices may be daunting. But even the largest appetites should have leftovers, particularly after sampling the complimentary bread and za’atar, that aforementioned delightful falafel, the creamy yet light hummus and smoky, smooth baba ganoush, and the not-to-be-missed cheese Fatayer.

Petra also offers a full bar with a generous wine and beer list at mostly reasonable prices. We stuck to wine and beer and were satisfied.

Other standout entrees were the Mucklouba with seasoned beef, the Chicken Mediterranean, and all of the soups. The lentil and the daily special are both a treat. Be warned: The rice is a tad on the salty side, but keeps well for reheating.

Petra isn’t a big place but happily accommodated our large group (we did make reservations) and maintained an intimate feel, thanks to great waitstaff and plenty of attention.

Certainly more elegant than that street cart sandwich, Petra boasts some delicious food in a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere that keeps falafel cravings at bay.

Petra Restaurant // 3602 West Lake Rd. // 838.7917 // petrarestaurant.com/

Miriam Lamey can be contacted at Miriam@eriereader.com.

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