Restaurant review: Pita House

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

Pita House is an inspiring little find. Operated by the people who launched Pita Hut, it's similar to that original but - just as a house is an improvement over a hut - Pita House has more to offer.

Located in Bexley, Pita House is bright, clean, roomy, painted in cheery shades of light blue and pale green, has sports-tuned TVs, plenty of seating and a large patchwork fabric wall decoration. So when you score one of those great shawarmas here, you needn't desperately seek a comfy place to eat it (as a Clintonvillian, though, I will always dig munching Pita Hut in Bob's Bar just next door).

Some other Pita House positives are its "plate meals" (which corral terrific hummus, two salady or dippy sides and a cooked-to-order main for only $8 to $9) and occasional specials (like a full lamb shank dinner for the price of a sandwich). No wonder this place is constantly buzzing with regulars dining in and grabbing sack-loads of fragrant Middle Eastern favorites to go. In fact, with its pleasant-enough confines and terrific food and terrific prices, the only thing missing here is beer (Hey, Bob's Bar, ever consider an East Side expansion?).

Lentil soup ($3): Not one of those cumin bombs. Pureed, tangy, bright with lemon, enriched by potato and punched up with garlic, it's a highly recommended huge bowl of comfort.

Kubeh (aka kibbeh, $2): A fat little football with a crackly bulgur wheat shell packed with oniony, cinnamony and juicy ground meat, it's homemade and one of many great deals here.

Chicken Shawarma ($6): Great; curry-tinged meat loaded in a puffy, toasted pita with excellent hummus, pickles and Jerusalem salad (cucumber, tahini and tomatoes)

Kafta kebab plate ($9): Delicious, split and seared ground lamb and beef patties aromatized by allspice and leaking lusty juices. Comes with hummus and two sides like: fresh, refreshing, lemony and parsley-heavy tabouli; a wonderful, deeply roasted-to-sweet, skin-on eggplant, peppers, mushroom and olive salad; a killer cauliflower salad (similar to the eggplant); or smoky, rich, lemony and altogether addictive baba ghanouj.

Lamb Shank special ($9): An insane bargain. Not quite fall-off-the-bone tender, and a little leaner than what you usually get, but bold and delicious with potent clovey and allspice-type seasoning. Comes with nice puffy rice and a pretty good little Greek salad with a pungent garlic and mayo dressing.

Pita House

2996 E. Broad St., Bexley