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Review: Star of Meddys menu is fresh-cut meat from the spit

The Mediterranean restaurant is a fast-service place with a streamlined menu. The chicken hummus shawarma at Meddys is beautifully presented and served with a big basket of pita bread and fried pita chips on the side.

( Originally from The Wichita Eagle )

When you can see hunks of roasted meats rotating on spits in a restaurant's kitchen, that's a solid clue that you should order the menu items made with those meats.

That's certainly true at Meddys, a new Mediterranean restaurant that Ribbit Computers owner Alex Harb opened in September in a space at 7906 E. Harry formerly occupied by a Jimmy's Egg. The quick-service restaurant serves fresh Mediterranean dishes that are familiar to Wichita diners, spoiled by the culinary perks of a community with a large Lebanese population.

Meddys is an order-at-the-counter place. Diners enter the restaurant and proceed to the cash register, which sits near a large, mounted wall menu. The Meddys menu isn't huge but includes chicken and beef shawarma shaved from the spits, served on a platter with hummus or in a wrapped pita sandwich. It also offers wrap sandwiches filled with beef kefta kabob, falafel, salmon or veggies.

In addition, Meddys has build-your-own bowls, which allow customers to choose a meat and a sauce to go with a portion of rice with parsley. Meddys makes several sauces in-house, including a Tzatziki sauce made with Greek yogurt and a balsamic-based house vinaigrette. Three of its other sauces - garlic, tahini and Sriracha mayo - also are available for self-service from pumps near the soft-drink machine. The menu also lists the prerequisite hummus and fattoush salad as well as shoestring fries, creamy tomato soup and lentil soup.

The rotating spits are visible from the cash register, as is the entirety of the kitchen. My friend ordered a build-your-own platter, which costs $8.99 and allows a diner to choose a sandwich and two sides. She chose the beef kefta kabob wrap with a fattoush salad and hummus.

The wrap was easily the best thing we ate, and the star of it was the kefta kabob, made with ground beef, onions, parsley and spices that have been molded together, skewered and grilled. We could taste the smoke from the grill in the nicely seasoned meat, and its chewy texture was perfect with the generous amounts of fresh parsley, creamy tahini sauce, hummus and cherry tomato-onion relish that join it inside the well-constructed wrap. The plate also included a dollop of hummus spiked with fresh cucumber and tomato along with generous portions of triangle-shaped pita bread, both crispy baked and soft.

The hummus lacked zing and felt like it needed more citrus to bring it to life, but it had a pleasing smooth texture. A little bit of salt helped it and the side fattoush salad, which was crisp and crunchy and made with romaine, cucumbers, tomato, red onion slivers, red bell pepper hunks and radishes. The salad also had fresh mint, which was a nice surprise.

Our other favorite dish was the heavenly tomato soup, which is served in a cup, a bowl or as part of a soup and salad combination. It tasted like it had been simmering for hours and was more tangy than sweet.

I liked my chicken hummus shawarma, even more so after I salted it, but the chicken-from-the-spit might not appeal to dark-meat-averse people. The pieces of meat are different sizes and shapes, and some that clearly had been on the outside of the spit have a more crusty texture than those shaved from the inner layers. The bites of chicken, therefore, were inconsistent in texture and flavor, but overall, the dish was good and was beautifully presented on a square plate, topped with paprika, parsley and a drizzle of sauce. It also came with a giant basket of pita bread and baked pita chips.

I tried the beef shawarma wrap as well. The freshly shaved beef was juicy, and the parsley, onions and tomato that it was topped with complemented it in flavor and appearance. Like all the sandwiches, it was pressed on a grill until the pita was warm and tender and had visible grill marks.

The restaurant is big and airy and filled with what appear to be homemade tables - some tall, some short - with attached stools painted in bright oranges and yellows. The food appears quickly, served on disposable plates and with plastic utensils. Bonus: Meddys has a Coca-Cola freestyle machine.

Meddys is different from Wichita's other Mediterranean restaurants in many ways, including its quick-service approach. The menu is streamlined, lacking expected dishes such as tabouli and gyro, but it makes up for it in creative garnishes like parsley-sumac onions and pickled turnips, and unusual sides like eggplant stewed with bell peppers and onions.