Restaurant Review: Kabob and kafta make a trip to Skewers in Indialantic worth the drive

What an abundance of riches Brevard County has when it comes to Middle Eastern food, from hidden-gem groceries and to innovative eateries, and Skewers Mediterranean Grill is one of the best-favored among them.

Skewers, located in that culinary hub, Fifth Avenue, Indialantic, is spacious, serene and beautifully decorated, with dark tile floors and shiny wood furniture, lots of sunshine and air filled with spicy scents, not merely of food on the grill. Was that sandalwood we detected? Evocative magic.

Our server was prompt, professional and attentive; nothing remained on the table longer than necessary, and her descriptions of dishes were right-on. The menu is fairly extensive, with everything you’d expect in the genre — ghanouj, falafel, kibbeh, etc. — as well as non-regional fare, much of it fire-grilled, including steaks and fish.

We went with Humus Be Awerma ($9.50), a smooth, less-dense-than-normal, less-garlicky-than-normal humus with sautéed ground sirloin and pine nuts that made it a whole lot more substantial than normal, served on triangles of char-grilled pita. Order this as a light lunch; there’s a lot of it and it is filling.

The other appetizer was stuffed grape leaves ($8.50), a half-dozen fat little things, half of which were vegetarian, half filled with ground sirloin and rice. The innards were redolent of cinnamon, which was welcome and unusual, but the leaves themselves were a touch dry and the yogurt-based dipping sauce a bit bland.

Somewhere in Brevard lies a halfway point between far too much garlic and far too little flavor, far too sweet and far too tart: Will some Mediterranean chef please find it? one of our dining companions asked. I, who could eat (American) garlic by the clove and lemons like oranges, agreed, for the sake of less radical diners.

Our main dishes were shish taouk ($17.50 for dinner, $11 for lunch); kafta kabob ($17.50 or $11); and lamb shish kabob ($23). The shish taouk was expertly grilled, dressed with a slightly lemony, slightly garlicky sauce, and it came with a wonderful, marinated cucumber and tomato salad; one skewer made a most filling meal.

The lamb kabob was moist and tender, with just enough marvelous charcoal taste, a perfect amount of spice and a little snap in the onions and peppers with which it was grilled. The accompanying salad was grand too. This alone is worth the drive, friends.

So too the kafta: flawless. Skewers’ cook, do you chop the meat for this dish in-house? They didn’t seem like those hastily-rolled, likely-to-disintegrate balls of ground beef you get in lesser establishments, but were solid, satisfying and savory, with a marvelous texture. The jasmine rice, as with the taouk and kebob, was wonderful too.

We were too full to order dessert, but it should be noted that Skewers does a banana-coconut cake that is one remarkable confection, it having been brought to another restaurant on a “Please try this!” mission.

Otherwise, we stuck with ordinary coffee after our meals because the restaurant was out of the ground beans with which to make the Turkish variety; too bad for certain people (raising hand) who could drink Turkish coffee all day in the right circumstances. Can you say “wired?” I know you can. Lipton tea was OK too, but Middle Eastern food really begs for specialty teas.

Anyway, will we go back to Skewers? You bet. Soon.

Skewers Mediterranean Grille

Four stars

Address: 144 Fifth Ave., Indialantic

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays.

Call: 321-727-8944

Online: skewersgrille.com

WiFi: Yes

Other: Private room available; belly dancing; outdoor dining; beer and wine; catering

About our reviews

Restaurants are rated on a five-star system by FLORIDA TODAY’s reviewer. The reviews are the opinion of the reviewer and take into account quality of the restaurant’s food, ambiance and service. Ratings reflect the quality of what a diner can reasonably expect to find. To receive a rating of less than three stars, a restaurant must be tried twice and prove unimpressive on each visit. Each reviewer visit is unannounced and paid for by FLORIDA TODAY.

Five stars: Excellent. A rare establishment to which you’d be proud to take the most discerning diner.

Four stars: Very good. Worth going out of your way for. Food, atmosphere and service are routinely top notch.

Three stars: Good. A reasonably good place with food and service that satisfy.

Two stars: Fair. While there’s nothing special about this establishment, it will do in a pinch.

One star: Not recommended. Don’t bother.

Florida Today Review

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