>> The Grill House | Eat the World NYC

09 March 2021

The Grill House


COVID-19 UPDATE: Mostly takeout in the best of times, Grill House has a few modest tables set up now that indoor dining has resumed in NYC.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.

On a quiet residential Bronx block sits Grill House, which on first glance looks like a run-of-the-mill shawarma shop. Behind the unassuming facade and alongside the shawarma spit is a full menu of Middle Eastern mezzeh at very reasonable prices, including Palestinian desserts that remain hard to come by in most New York neighborhoods.

First things first: the chicken shawarma ($5, below) is very good. It has pickles, garlic sauce, and is carved fresh from the spit. The spit’s seasoning is milder than at Bay Ridge favorite Al-Aqsa Bakery, but the flavor is bolstered with a vibrant green spicy schug that is heavy on fresh peppers and herbs. Be a little gentle in its application—it packs a punch.

A side of baba ganoush is never a bad idea for dipping, and here you might order it in the Middle Eastern platter ($7.99, below), which combines scoops of hummus and baba with falafel balls, salad, and pita. The dips are both garnished with green chili-infused olive oil, and the falafel balls are small, maximizing the crunch ratio as you make your own falafel sandwiches.

Other mezzeh options dot the menu, and most come in $3 or $6 sizes. Cauliflower salad is surprisingly acidic in a good way, and cucumber with yogurt is seasoned with abundant dried mint and fresh parsley.

Room should be saved for dessert, including a respectable kunafeh ($1.50), the amazing shredded filo and baked cheese dessert that is becoming more readily-available in NYC restaurants. Also good is the standard walnut and pistachio baklava ($1).

Grill House’s version is less sweet than many others, letting the nut flavors come through clearly. Most popular, however, with both walk-in traffic and during a recent afternoon lunch, is the cheese baklava ($1), which replaces nuts with soft cheese. If you take it home, be sure to stick it in the oven briefly to reheat the cheese.

Both the sweets and savories pull from the proprietors’ upbringing in Jordan by Palestinian parents. As with so many in the Palestinian diaspora, they have not been able to visit their home country, but their parents brought their culinary traditions with them to Jordan, and now the children cook the same food on this quiet street in The Bronx.

Grill House is a fifteen minute walk from the Bromx Zoo’s Bronx River Parkway entrance (and not too far from the 2 and 5 trains), making for a great post-zoo dining option. Assuming that it has stopped snowing, which as of this writing is not the case.


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