El Basha West

256 Park Ave.
Worcester, Massachusetts





Where once stood Jekyll and Hyde's Cafe and Grille now looms El Basha West, the second El Basha middle eastern restaurant to grace Worcester. A friend and I dined here on 4/25/2002 and I must admit I wasn't really sure what to expect. I hadn't even realized that the restaurant had opened, even though I'm usually in that area at least once a week. The windows are completely curtained off, so there was no way to peek inside...

What greeted us was a complete transformation. The inside of the restaurant has been totally redone, to the extent that it now resembles the interior of the 111 Chop House. Solid, dark wood now lines all the walls, and vaguely middle eastern looking light fixtures and crepe dress the dining room nicely. We were immediately seated, though I can't imagine this restaurant won't become the hottest ticket in town very quickly.

Unlike the original El Basha, this eatery is more of a fine dining establishment than a family restaurant. However, the food of the latter is at least as good as the food of the former; though the recipes were definitely the same, the preparation was just slightly different. We ordered the humus and their infamous stuffed grape leaves as appetizers, and were quite happy with what we got (though the pita bits were a little stale, and the serving of humus was much smaller than we expected). The menu also seemed to offer a few more choices than the original location does.

I ordered a nice glass of a Sonoma red wine from 2000 (though I can no longer remember the name or type), and that complemented my combination kebab dinner very well. My friend ordered the baked kibbe and was similarly pleased. Service was incredibly fast - again, perhaps because they had just opened and there really wasn't much of a crowd at all - but also very pleasant. We ordered rice pudding (the waiter recommended it as "unbelievable") and baklava and shared our just desserts with one another.

I highly recommend that you make your way out here as soon as possible, before the rest of Worcester realizes this place exists!

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