The Verdict is in!!
Jared and I are total foodies. We love making dates out of trying new, local restaurants. Three years ago, Jared went through a phase where he wanted to try a Mediterranean place. I kept pushing back, because, yeah I like hummus, but the rest seemed a little weird to me. About a year later I gave in.
He picked N&J Cafe and we had a Saturday lunch date. After a little hesitation, I ordered a chicken shawarma. Guys, I’m not even kidding when I say that my life was changed. It was so delicious, warm, tangy, and salty. The hummus on the side was creamy, nutty, and rich. Just thinking about it makes me hungry, and I’m so full from my lunch.
Six-ish months ago we tried one of Wichita’s favorite Mediterranean restaurants, Meddy’s. I ordered the chicken shawarma with a side of hummus. I loved it, but Jared still said he preferred the food from N&J’s more. Since then, Jared and I have been going back and forth eating at both establishments, always trying to decide which we liked more. It was hard to compare one to another without having them side by side, since both taste really good.
Today, I decided to have my first Shawarma-Off. A side-by-side, over-eating meal where I compare the same food I love from two different places.
The rules: buy a chicken shawarma and hummus with pita from each restaurant; eat ½ of each side by side while comparing flavor, chicken, sauce, extras (the veggies in the wrap,) pita, and hummus deliciousness. Each restaurant can earn up the three points per category.
When I’ve talked to people about the food, they all have strong feelings for one over the other. This is how I think they compare with my (and Jared’s) honest thoughts.
The first bite, there is an explosion of a salty, chewy flavor balanced out with a refreshing burst of veggies and bite of pickle. The shawarma sauce gives off a ranch dressing vibe, but with the tang of yogurt. The most interesting thing about Meddy’s shawarma is the fact that they put french fries inside the wrap.
Yeah, fries. I love fries, and I hope the fry gods don’t strike me down for this, but I don’t think the fries in this wrap do anything but add calories. You can’t taste them, and sometimes you can’t really see them. It feels more like a novelty item than a necessity.
The wrap itself is chewy, but almost too much. It can get a little tough to chew. They press the wrap with what seems to be a panini press, and it dries it out. But, it does hold together very well. Not any dropped insides or dripped juices can escape the seal of the pita.
The hummus was voted Best Hummus in Wichita last year. It’s good, but it’s also a little bland. I do think the color and consistency are beautiful. It comes with a sprinkle of parsley (or something green), olive oil, paprika and a few whole garbanzo beans. It has a strong tahini flavor, but without the pita chips, the hummus itself is lacking.
The pita is actually John’s Pita (which is the best pita in the entire world!!!) and N&J Cafe’s owners are the owners of John’s Pita, too. Basically, if you have pita in Wichita, there is a 99% chance it’s John’s. The difference between the two is how they prepare the pita chips. Meddy’s has an awesome herb and oil seasoning they toss on the pita. It’s hard to explain, but it’s so good.
Overall, I feel like Meddy’s serves a very fresh and tasty meal. It’s super filling, without being heavy. My healthy-nut mom loved it, so it even has the Mom seal of approval.
N&J Cafe Review:
My first shawarma love. The first bite is warm and juicy. It’s soft and creamy with just the right amount of chew from the pita. The shawarma wrap comes wrapped in foil, and it’s needed to help hold everything together since the wrap is not pressed like Meddy’s.
The wrap contains chicken, shawarma sauce, lettuce and tomato. A pickle is served on the side as well as a pickled jalapeno. The chicken is so flavorful. It’s sliced thinner and is incredibly juicy. It’s like night and day when you compare Meddy’s chicken to N&J’s. The shawarma sauce is tangy and herby. It compliments the chicken extremely well.
The best part, but messiest part, is when you get to the end of the wrap. The juice and sauce pool at the bottom, so when you take the foil off all the goodness drips down you hands. YUM! It’s such a flavorful and beyond satisfying last bite.
The hummus is awesome. It’s not as creamy as Meddy’s, but it has more flavor and a better after taste. It’s a little darker in color, but is garnished the same minus the green stuff.
The pita chips are a much darker color and have a really nutty flavor. It’s kind of one-note, though.
From Meddy’s we prefer the pita chips and the veggies in the shawarma wrap.
From N&J’s we prefer the flavor of the shawarma sauce, chicken and hummus. We think to make it 100% perfect, add a few more veggies & pickles IN the wrap.
One hundred percent we will still eat at both. Meddy’s is a little more convenient for us, but N&J’s will always satisfy the best cravings.
As for price: they fall almost identical. The shawarma plus two sides come to roughly $10. I think Meddy’s may be 50 cents more, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means. Especially when we are sharing a meal anyway.