I have been waiting to write about East Side Pockets for quite some time. For over 13 years they have been one of the most successful eateries in Providence. The Phoenix has named them “Best Middle Eastern Restaurant” two years running (2008, 2009) and they just received the award for “Best Late Night Eats” for 2010.
But to me, the greatest thing about this place is the menu and price. Their selection of appetizers, pockets, salads, and dinner plates are all made-to-order and everything is priced under $8!!
I rarely buy more than just a pocket but on this night I was in the mood for something more! Grape leaves were first on my list, but I opted for the Baba Ghanouj (Ba-buh Guh-noozh) with Syrian Bread.
The name looks intimidating but this classic Arabian dish is a simple blend of pureed eggplant, tahini (sesame paste), crushed garlic and lemon juice. By spreading a generous amount on the fluffy, light Syrian Bread, your taste buds are left with an explosion of flavors. It’s the perfect appetizer to share too. A small is actually an 8oz. container and can easily be shared with 2-4 people (unless you’re greedy).
Now on to the pockets. These potent portables are the moneymaker for East Side Pockets. Every single one is filled to the brim with a wide array of meats, veggies, cheeses, and sauces. I always go for my personal favorite; the Chicken Kabob Pocket with Lettuce, Onion, Hummus, Hot Sauce, Tabouleh and Tahini.
If you want to skip the fried falfels, go for the healthier choice (chicken/lean beef)
Each bite delivers a slew of textures and flavors. The hot sauce provides a spicy kick and before it starts to coat your tongue, the cool, creamy hummus stops it in its track. And the juicy, marinated chicken is out of this world. Before it hits the grill, the chicken is soaked in a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano. The end result is possibly the best grilled chicken you’ve ever tasted.
I’m also a huge fan of their Tabouleh. The combination of chopped parsley, cracked wheat, olive oil and lemon juice is something I can’t describe here. You have to try it. Do it, do it now!!!
I rarely have room for their desserts, which mostly consist of assorted pastries and baklava. To be honest, the only time I try their dessert is when I throw some change into their tip jar. Not to mention I have seen the same desserts in the same trays for weeks on end, so consider this a friendly warning.
Simply put, East Side Pockets is a decorated vet amongst rookies and they have the hardware to prove it. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. Oh and don’t forget the falafels!!!