4872 W. Lone Mountain Road at Decatur Boulevard, 702-658-0024
You know a Mom-and-Pop eatery is good if it has survived the economic downturn with barely a hiccup. For the past eight years, Baladie Cafe has served up authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The Mom and Pop in this case are Amira and Hacene Bouakel, who hail from Algeria. At first, they offered a huge menu, then they pared it, basing their offerings on what patrons told them they wanted. “When somebody comes here, it’s like a guest, a guest in our home,” Hacene Bouakel said. “… You take care of them.” The cafe’s recipes come from his wife’s kitchen, some of them passed down through the generations. The more adventurous souls can opt for the spicy versions. The 1,300-square-foot restaurant has six tables and a small corner where bagged coffee and cold items such as apricot juice are displayed. But the real draw is the menu, written on hanging chalkboards. Its top seller is the gyro. The lamb and beef will run you $5.50, and the chicken breast gyro is $5.75. Have it as a platter and it comes with hummus, babaghanouj, Kalamata olives, falafels, feta cheese, dolmas, tabouli, pickle and two pitas. Other platter items include the Mediterranean vegetarian maze, shawerma (lamb and beef or chicken), falafel (which some people call veggie patties), rotisserie chicken and a Greek sampler. Platters start at $7.99. There are also lamb or chicken kabobs, marinated in seasoned olive oil and served with basmati rice, sweet peas, tomato sauce and pita. Spanakopita comes with half of a Greek salad and herb pita. The moussaka has layers of eggplant, potato and ground beef topped with bechamel sauce. Baladie Cafe is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.