Located at 4212 West Wendover Avenue in Greensboro, Chef Samir Shaltout serves Egyptian cuisine for lunch and dinner. Hot and cold appetizers, salads, beef/chicken/fish/seafood/vegetarian entrees, tagines, pasta dishes, and desserts are among the menu offerings. Alcohol is not served, but catering is available.
Television is flooded these days with clueless wannabe restaurateurs who are in dire need of rescuing (often by a stern, British-accented kitchen veteran). Chef Samir Shaltout is the antithesis of all that. His eponymous eatery serves up fantastic food, crafted with competence and care. Whether a newcomer to Egyptian cuisine or one who knows what to expect, there is a lot to love here.
The location isn’t one of those things. Sharing a plaza with a Staples on Wendover, the establishment is small and awkwardly placed. The dark interior isn’t by any means shabby, but it lacks the colorful ambiance of a Cleopatra’s. In the grand scheme of things, however, this proves to be quite a minor letdown.
Chef Samir’s menu is varied and large. It offers most of the familiar Egyptian staples – hummus, babaganoush, falafel, shawerma, kabobs, etc. – as well as some appeals to the American propensity for eating large (cases-in-point: a half duck or a whole fish fried or broiled). For our first visit, we opted for a babaganoush starter and a mixed grill (chicken and beef shawerma, chicken, beef and kofta kabobs, rice, and salad). The appetizer was creamy and fresh with lemon notes. All of the meats in the entrée were juicy and well-seasoned, and the kofta kabob in particular had a lot of flavor. The herb rice, however, seemed too understated.
Pricing here is as varied as the menu. Appetizers run $4 to $6 and most entrees are in the teens. However, you can easily build a meal through a few of the starters. In addition, the mixed grill proved a good option for two: there’s no plate sharing fee. For $19, the portion was certainly adequate though plating could have been a touch more delicate (everything was piled together on one dish).
Thankfully, the service was held to the same standard as the food. Our server was friendly and fast. He happily shared favorite dishes and answered questions. Chef Samir dutifully made his rounds as well, a welcome gesture of accommodation.
A deep menu and consistent execution are often at odds with each other, but Chef Samir proves that both are attainable in the right hands. If you can get over the location, you’ll likely leave happy.