A trio of salads at Lavash City Grill & Bakery in Hackensack, a fast-casual restaurant that promises homemade taste, but not full table service. From bottom, Olivier Salad, Armenian Salad and Roasted Vegetables.
You won't see any servers at Lavash City Grill in Hackensack, where Armenian owners have adopted the fast-casual approach of higher quality food and counter service.
You're expected to pick up a tray and stop at soup, salad and other stations before paying for your meal and sitting down, as you would at Chipotle Mexican Grill.
And tipping isn't necessary.
As a sweetener, Lavash City Grill & Bakery is offering 10% off your bill through August.
The new restaurant offers counter service, with soup, salad, meat and other stations.
Marinated chicken and beef Lula Kebabs were served with tomato and yogurt sauces and Armenian lavash, a thin, unleavened flat bread baked daily in the restaurant.
Our Saturday night dinner
Anna Yeritsyan, owner of Lavash City Grill & Bakery, says she offers homemade soups, salads, kebabs and other dishes -- all made from scratch.
The addictive Armenian lavash, a chewy, unleavened flat bread, is made without preservatives and baked fresh daily in the restaurant.
Yeritsyan says any leftover bread is discarded, and a new batch is baked fresh the next day.
On Saturday, we stopped in after 6 p.m. for dinner, unfamiliar with the counter service, and sat down at a table.
The restaurant was empty, and the man behind the counter brought us menus.
We started with three soups, Spas or Yogurt, Three Bean and Seafood ($2.50 each for small).
Then, we asked for three small salads, including one made with 10 roasted vegetables ($5 to $7 each), but before the man could bring us plates to sample each one, two other customers came in and he started waiting on them.
Eventually, my wife and mother-in-law ordered three, long Lula Kebabs -- two ground chicken, one ground beef -- served with two sauces and lavash ($26).
And each of us had a Carrot Apple Pear Smoothie made with juice, milk and ice ($4 each).
We enjoyed our dinner, despite the service problems, and I'd return just for the wonderful soups, salads and bread.
Take home leftovers
I asked the man to pack up leftover kebabs and the side dish of pilaf he forgot to serve us, and I also asked for small containers of hummus and muhammara ($1.50 each).
I also wanted lavash, and was given four unusually large sheets of the oven-blistered flat bread at no extra charge.
At home, I've made a couple of smoked wild salmon wraps, using the irresistible lavash spread with hummus, muhammara and tahini. Delicious.
|Spas or Yogurt Soup.|
|Seating is along one wall, opposite the service counter.|
Lavash City Grill & Bakery, 331 Main St., Hackensack; 201-464-5445.
Counter service. Open 7 days, BYO. Metered parking and a free lot for shoppers nearby.