Columnist enjoys Mediterranean here in UA.
BY ALI ABUBAKR ’24
If you want to eat some excellent Mediterranean food while also helping the environment, Brassica is certainly the place for you. With a location on Lane Avenue near UAHS, it’s conveniently located for an after-school meal.
Established in 2015, Brassica opened its first location here in Columbus. Inspired by the Lebanese heritage of their grandfather, owners Kevin and Darren Malhame wanted to build a restaurant honoring traditional Mediterranean flavors and a commitment to organic and sustainable practices.
I walked in on a Saturday afternoon to a nice sight. The early-setting sun was shining in through the windows, warming the place up on a cold day. It was pretty busy, and right in front of the door was the start of the line where you ordered your food. I ordered a pita sandwich, french fries and a vegan chocolate chip cookie. I’m not a vegan, but the cookie was interesting. We’ll get to that later.
On my pita sandwich, I put some thick hummus, “greens” (which I think is a mixture of lettuce and cabbage), shredded chicken, ‘Brassica special sauce’ and roasted carrots. The shredded chicken was soft and juicy, and its juices mixed with the hummus and special sauce and soaked into the bread. I don’t know what the special sauce was but it was a thin light green sauce. The pita sandwich is placed in this open, circular piece of fluffy pita bread that is freshly cooked in front of you in an open oven. Very solid and filling sandwich, 8/10. Honestly, I was surprised. I really don’t know what it was, but when I was sitting down to start the meal, I wasn’t very excited to eat the sandwich. Weird. But safe to say I was excited for what was to come.
The french fries. I ordered them somewhat offhandedly just to expand the meal; I didn’t have high expectations, not something that I was thinking much of. But oh man, was I surprised. The best way to describe these fries would be to say that if they were being sold by a popular fast-food restaurant, they would be in contention for the best fries in the country. No joke. Better than McDonald’s, much better. McDonald’s fries need a sauce to complement their taste to be good, but Brassica fries can operate just fine on their own. This is because of the seasoning they put on the fries. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a dark brownish-red that’s just slightly spicy and so flavorful. Wonderful french fries.
I think it was because of these breathtaking fries that I went into the vegan cookie with high expectations. I didn’t even realize it, but subconsciously I had set the bar high. To the vegan Arlingtonian readers, it’s not looking too good for you. The cookie wasn’t soft like I expected it to be, and it was almost overwhelmingly full of chocolate. Some people like that chocolate overdose, but personally, I am not a fan. While chewing, I began pondering: If the cookie’s vegan, is this real chocolate? I had to do some research as to what it exactly means to be a vegan, because I would say that I’m not too educated on the topic and that this was an opportunity to learn. And I love learning. Oxford Languages defines a vegan as “a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products.” And something that I am educated on is the fact that chocolate is a dairy product, meaning that its ingredients do, indeed, come from animals. So after I had my facts and reasoning, I could come to the conclusion that the chocolate that I was currently eating was not, in fact, real chocolate. Unless Brassica is lying, of course. But I sincerely doubt that.
Overall, the Mediterranean food offered by Brassica in Upper Arlington is pretty good. The amazingness of the fries weighed equally to the mediocrity of the vegan cookie. Go get yourself some Brassica because it is indeed Ali Approved.