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The Old Salam is the New Bab al Salam

The Old Salam is the New Bab al Salam
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  • Post #31 - January 27th, 2012, 2:37 pm
    Post #31 - January 27th, 2012, 2:37 pm Post #31 - January 27th, 2012, 2:37 pm
    Lady G-
    Nice Rant. :lol:

    Guess if ya want "good" Middle Eastern- ya gotta back to Albany Park and check out Dawali (4911 N. Kedzie)

    Frankly- I was more happy that "Abdul"/Albert our waiter buddy from Salaam was still "around", than I was
    with the tired Strip mall-looking/fluorescent light/funky not-so-clean banos vibe of this place on Cumberland Rd.
    Sorry that you had to "take-one-for-the-team" to discover this for yourself.
    Kinda like when ya see a "bad" movie- it's 90 minutes of your life- lost- that you can never reclaim.....at least w/
    a crappy meal- in 24 hr.s or less- it's all flushed away- leaving only the bad taste in your memory banks.

    Onwards to Albany Park!
  • Post #32 - January 27th, 2012, 2:51 pm
    Post #32 - January 27th, 2012, 2:51 pm Post #32 - January 27th, 2012, 2:51 pm
    BR wrote:Easy answer Giovanna: the old Salam/new Bab al Salam . . . is really neither anymore. The staff has completely turned over and I'm not even certain the ownership is the same. My last two meals there were terribly underwhelming (similar issues that you raise) and I will not be returning. So while I believe you that your meal was poor, please realize that your experience months ago would most likely have been dramatically different.


    That syncs up with what I've been told as well. It's been a while since I've been there, but I recently ran into Abdul (Albert) the waiter (who now ironically works at Salam again). He told me the owner went back to the old country and there are new people running the place. He couldn't handle working there anymore, so he left. That pretty much said it all for me.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #33 - January 27th, 2012, 2:57 pm
    Post #33 - January 27th, 2012, 2:57 pm Post #33 - January 27th, 2012, 2:57 pm
    stevez wrote:
    BR wrote:Easy answer Giovanna: the old Salam/new Bab al Salam . . . is really neither anymore. The staff has completely turned over and I'm not even certain the ownership is the same. My last two meals there were terribly underwhelming (similar issues that you raise) and I will not be returning. So while I believe you that your meal was poor, please realize that your experience months ago would most likely have been dramatically different.


    That syncs up with what I've been told as well. It's been a while since I've been there, but I recently ran into Abdul (Albert) the waiter (who now ironically works at Salam again). He told me the owner went back to the old country and there are new people running the place. He couldn't handle working there anymore, so he left. That pretty much said it all for me.

    Ditto. I'd heard the same from a co-worker who used to eat there frequently and has stopped. He said it had gone way downhill.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #34 - January 27th, 2012, 4:02 pm
    Post #34 - January 27th, 2012, 4:02 pm Post #34 - January 27th, 2012, 4:02 pm
    Giovanna wrote:Sometimes, I'll go to a restaurant that some LTHer raved about and not think very highly of it. [I know, there's a whole thread on this topic and some day when I have some spare time I'll add my .02 to it.]

    And sometimes, I'll go get a meal and leave wondering "What restaurant did those other people eat at? What I just had totally sucked!"

    That was my experience yesterday. I have a lot of respect for the people who posted on this thread, but I have to ask "Where the fk do YOU people eat, because that bears no resemblance to the crap I ate yesterday!"



    I ate here not that long ago, less than a month ago, because I know it was shortly after my last trip to Las Vegas. The dinner I had was OK, not as good as others I've had, but we also ordered pretty mundanely. It was nothing that would cause me to instantly change my opinion on the place, although the totality of other comments do give me pause on returning.

    That said, the comment quoted above, I know is not meant to be disparaging to me generally, but generally it does get my goat (because in the plain text of what's written it's highly disparaging, although I think there's some tongue-in-cheek here). Still, it's not so much this one as the general spirit in several recent threads (you all know the ones) where it seems people feel the need tell each other how bad their opinions were.

    There's all sorts of reasons that people have different experiences at restaurants. That's not also taking into account how people value different things and what excites someone vs. turning them off. There's no reason we should all like the same place, and there's no reason to expect we all have the same experiences. Trying to enforce some other standards, to me, seems fruitless and leads to an off-tone. Cannot you say what you think without other comments? I'd happy to read different opinions than mine; I'd just like to read a bit less commentary of my opinions themselves.
  • Post #35 - January 27th, 2012, 5:33 pm
    Post #35 - January 27th, 2012, 5:33 pm Post #35 - January 27th, 2012, 5:33 pm
    VI you are hardly the only person to have posted positively about this restaurant. I'm as guilty or perhaps even moreso than you. Don't rake things personally. Things change at restaurants...especially small ethnic ones all the time.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #36 - January 27th, 2012, 7:05 pm
    Post #36 - January 27th, 2012, 7:05 pm Post #36 - January 27th, 2012, 7:05 pm
    Rob & Steve, you both know I hold you & you opinions in high esteem. You were among the main reasons I thought, after my first visit to Bab al Salam a long time ago [maybe 18 months?], that maybe I was missing something & should give the place another chance. Maybe they were having a bad night when I went before.

    But I really needed a good meal last night, and they really let me down.

    I know who to blame, and it's the people who burn the shawarma, not the people who produce pixels.

    I just wanted to enjoy my sandwich.
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #37 - May 31st, 2012, 9:04 pm
    Post #37 - May 31st, 2012, 9:04 pm Post #37 - May 31st, 2012, 9:04 pm
    I returned for lunch, thinking it's worth giving the place another try. Bad move! Falafel under-seasoned, lukewarm and dry. Hummus very thick (not enough tahini I suspect), too much lemon but little in the way of other flavor, and poor quality olive oil. I am now officially done - very sad because this place was fantastic when it opened.

    On the plus side, I noticed a new middle eastern spot that just opened in the strip mall on the north side of Lawrence, just west of Harlem (same strip mall as Thai Pastry).
  • Post #38 - November 14th, 2017, 9:10 pm
    Post #38 - November 14th, 2017, 9:10 pm Post #38 - November 14th, 2017, 9:10 pm
    For quite some time now, I've been really pleased with many of the offerings from Middle Eastern Flair. But the lack of customers appeared to catch up with them, the shelves quickly emptying . . .and alas, gone. I've tried several Middle Eastern spots in the area and I haven't found anything as good as Naf Naf, which is rather disappointing.

    So, five years later, and seeing generally positive feedback of late on Yelp, I decided to give Bab al Salam another try. It's been a while . . . and I'm getting older . . . so maybe my memory isn't quite what it was, but the place looked different inside (layout of tables, tablecloths). And I didn't recognize the couple of guys behind the counter (they were the only two employees as far as I could tell). But most of the menu seemed the same, including the presence of stuffed falafel.

    Most importantly though, I enjoyed what I had. Chicken shawarma sandwich was tasty. Really well seasoned, generally moist chicken with some crisp bits. Though I think it might also have griddled just a bit, I didn't mind. And the pita was warm and fresh too.

    I added 3 falafel, still as solid deal at $.50/piece, and they were solid too. They were hot, crisp, moist and flavorful.

    So it just might be that Bab al Salam returns to my rotation five years later. We'll see as I work my way through the menu a little more. But I thought I would share my initial findings and tell you that it might just be safe to return.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago

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