Al-Sufara is known for its extensive lamb and chicken dishes - mostly kebabs and shawarma, but they're expanding into large-format, family-style dining now as well.
What started in Amman, Jordan and led to a butcher shop in Palos Hills is now a large, new restaurant.
Al Sufara Grills takes the "grilling" part of their name seriously, hand-forming ground lamb kebabs over long, metal skewers; same goes for the chicken thigh and beef kebabs...even whole fish, which will eventually meet a platter of fluffy rice and grilled vegetables, before being dispatched and filleted easily with knife and fork at the table.
"With the full dining room, we've now added a whole bunch of other really neat things to the menu," said Amer Abdullah, one of the family members of the owners.
There are massive salads with pita chips, feta, radishes and peppers; tabbouleh, Jerusalem salad, and of course, plenty of thick hummus and chunky baba gannoush, the result of smoked and pureed eggplants enriched with tahini and brightened with lemon juice.
"But then we do kind of a funkier one which we call baba gannoush with pomegranate molasses. So that one's got your smoked eggplant, but we mix some sweet pomegranate molasses in there, giving it a nice tang," he said.
The large kitchen allows them to make massive, family-style dishes, usually including some type of lamb part. One of them - fork-tender lamb neck over rice - is a delicacy.
"We do that here now, and so for example, every night now, we'll have a special of some sort. Today is Ouzi, with ground lamb, lamb shanks, carrots, peas and rice. That's one of our favorite one-pot meals," said Abdullah.
The daily specials usually are lamb or chicken - sometimes vegetarian - but honestly, everybody is going to find something they like on this extensive menu.
EXTRA COURSE: A look at one of Al-Sufara's signature desserts -- knafeh
AL SUFARA GRILL
9218 W. 159th St., Orland Park