Shawarma Love

Rick Nichols has been on a shawarma quest since he first tasted the Middle Eastern sandwich on the streets of Moscow, yes Moscow!

Most recently he tried to recreate that taste of “Russian spring” at Mama’s Grill on South Street.

This is the venture of Shauli David, 26, whose father owns Mama’s Vegetarian, at 18 S. 20th St., where David says Israeli customers started asking for shawarma. Each day now he marinates chicken and turkey thighs with seasonings (cumin, paprika, salt and pepper), slow-roasting layers of them next to the glowing vertical heaters.

He personally bakes the puffy pita pockets (wheat and white) downstairs. The shop also makes most of its salads and spreads – hummus and pickled cucumber, tart cabbage slaw, and a great eggplant salad and spicy lemons spiked with garlic and paprika. David eats his own shawarma with tahini sauce, onion and pickled cucumber. I have mine one evening with all that, plus the cabbage slaw that provides nice crunch and the bright eggplant salad that helps to moisten the stuffing of chicken.

On South St., a remembered taste [Philadelphia Inquirer]