Upon entering the New La Shish at 12918 Michigan Ave., there is a sticker proclaiming La Shish as an AOL "Best of" choice in 2005. Magazine covers from years ago adorn the walls.
Most people don't recall awards La Shish won five years ago; however, they do remember the food.
One of the most comforting things for former La Shish patrons is the menu. The "new" menu is the old menu and not just the items, the entire menu—down to the font and pictures—is exactly the same.
First and foremost, the fondest La Shish memory for most people is the bread. Hot out of the oven, fluffy, just a little charred and chewy bread that is brought to the table as you are seated. Don't worry, the bread is still as stellar as it ever was except now a bowl of toum (garlic sauce) and Middle Eastern salsa is served alongside the bread. Use caution when consuming this fantastic pita. Before you blink, two baskets will have been eaten and you'll have no room for dinner.
Not so fast! Don't skip to dinner just yet. Hummus, as ubiquitous as it may be, can still be special. La Shish's hummus is exceptionally creamy with just the right touch of lemon and garlic punch. Of course to eat the hummus, you'll have to consume more bread, so let's just make a point of wearing stretchy pants when you visit La Shish, deal?
Balancing the massive amount of carbs you've just consumed will not be an easy task, but have no fear—the shawarma combo plate is here! Perky piles of succulent beef and chicken are piled on the plate with a heap of almond-studded rice dividing the meats. Both the beef and chicken are addictively pleasing, but the beef, seasoned with allspice, has a slight edge in flavor over the still tasty chicken. Tahini sauce and toum are on the platter as well.
The owners may be different, but the concept, food, and feel are the same. The new La Shish is trying to conjure up fond thoughts and hungry pangs and succeeds. Just don't eat too much bread.