$10 Lunch: ZaZa's in Boynton Beach

Categories: Cheap Eats

Where can you stop for lunch that's fast and fresh, with a made-to-order assembly line of locally bought ingredients?

It's not Chipotle, Moe's or Qdoba. And it's certainly not Subway.

None of the usual suspects; rather, it's ZaZa's. One part good-for-you, one part good-to-go Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, it's a quick-stop eatery with a unique take on some decidedly different dishes.

ZaZa's, with its flagship location in Boynton Beach, is the brainchild of 25-year-old Omar Hammad, whose idea was born from experience -- eating fast food, that is. In college, while attending Babson University in Massachusetts, Hammad said he frequented the "quick and casual" eateries around campus. "Places like Qdoba and Chipotle. But they all had a Mexican theme," said Hammad, of the "Fresh Mex" themed restaurant chains. "There was nothing really fast with a Mediterranean feel."

So Hammad decided he'd fill the void. Half Egyptian, and having spent a majority of his formative years in Marbella, Spain, his cultural roots laid the perfect foundation for a business in fast, fresh Mediterranean food. Of course, a menu's worth of family recipes straight from the homeland didn't hurt, either. "It's comfort food you've never had before," says Hammad, adding  the majority of his recipes come straight from his grandparents -- Zeina and Farouk Hammad, the Egyptian side of his family. On the menu, you'll see Hammad's family's falafel recipe and its very own creation of Feta Fries.

For those who like dipping and dunking, ZaZa's has six signature sauces that come paired with certain plates. Everything from the tzatziki to the tangy tamarind is house-made. The garlic aioli is served over Feta Fries -- a unique ZaZa creation that gives a Mediterranean twist to an American must-have. House fries are topped with salty, soft feta cheese, rich-flavored kalamata olives, and spicy pepperoncini, and finished with a drizzling of Hammad's freshly whipped garlic aioli, a zesty twist to your standard mayonnaise.

Next up for a trial taste-test: the Moroccan Cigar, another small plate you could easily call a Mediterranean eggroll. With a medley of minced, seasoned beef, peas, and onions served alongside the house tamarind sauce, it's another sampling unique to ZaZa's menu. The tamarind sauce is the focus here -- a sweet heat that accents the seasoned beef well.

The family's falafel recipe will be noticeably different to Americans familiar with the food. ZaZa's uses split fava beans, which gives a much different taste than the standard chickpea recipe, said Farouk. Served alongside a soupy tahini sauce, it's a vegetarian choice on this Mediterranean menu.

The house-made fresh hummus is served standard with garlic, tahini, lemon, and olive oil aside fresh, fried pita chips. The richness of the olive oil combined with fresh ingredients boasts of flavor and texture. Pair it with the house red sangria, wine, or any of the domestic and import beers on hand, and you've got a solid meal fast to eat-in. Or order to take home.

Small plates run no more than $4.50, while sandwiches, platters, and entree-sized salads range from $6.50 to $8.50.

Visit www.zazafresh.com, or stop by the restaurant at the Renaissance Commons shopping plaza located at 1880 N. Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach. The eatery is located in the northwest corner of the shopping center at the corner of Congress and Gateway.

TEL: 561-734-1232
FAX: 561-536-5606
Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m - 9:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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