Family owned and operated, The Edge Mediterranean Grill, Middle Eastern food at its finest

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When you think of Middle Eastern cuisine, El Cajon is the first place in East County that most people think of as the go-to place. But a small family owned business in Spring Valley, The Edge Mediterranean Grill, rivals any Middle Eastern restaurant that I have visited in East County with its fresh food, remarkable recipes that come from a variety of Middle Eastern regions and its casual family atmosphere.

When you think of Middle Eastern cuisine, El Cajon is the first place in East County that most people think of as the go-to place. But a small family owned business in Spring Valley, The Edge Mediterranean Grill, rivals any Middle Eastern restaurant that I have visited in East County with its fresh food, remarkable recipes that come from a variety of Middle Eastern regions and its casual family atmosphere.

With the opening of The Edge, the Nissou family now has a trifecta of businesses on Campo Road, including the A1 Hookah Bar on one side and S&S Automotive on the other. Kelly Nissou, wanting to get back into the dress making business saw an opportunity for a restaurant and the ability to work with her family when the space became open between their two existing businesses. Partnering with her son Antonio, they have created an exquisite dining experience with a small family flavor. Kelly Nissou takes credit for the menu, but said that it is her chefs that create the wonderful variety of recipes of traditional Middle Eastern food. One of who cooked for the crew of Saddam Hussein.

Dining there is more than just good food, it is a taste of times with many recipes not seen at many other Middle Eastern restaurants, and with many of the selections, because of the origin of the recipes, it was a pleasant surprise in the variety of common everyday family foods.

One of my favorites, and a go to when I visit a Middle Eastern restaurant is beef Shawarma. And this was a perfect beginning for my visit there. The plate, with beef Shawarma, yellow rice, served with its own house sauce, along with a side of hummus and bread was delightful, well seasoned, delicious, and a very important feature, inexpensive. Shawarma was not overcooked or over seasoned, and eating in combination with its fresh and pickled vegetables was ample in proportions and a meal I could not stop eating until the plate was clean. Its lamb shank was prepared with care, and amazingly taking away the fatty, greasy part of lamb that comes with many other lamb dishes. Enjoying the meal so much, I took a to go order to try some of my other favorites, falafel and baba ghanoush. The falafel was wonderfully prepared, not overcooked, dry and hard, as I have seen in other restaurants. It was crisp, moist and delicious. Paired with the baba ghanoush, this recipe was unlike any other I have tried. For those who stay away from hummus mainly due to texture, this might be the way to go. Its cream, yogurt consistency and riddled with roasted eggplant, it was a delightful combination.

This is just a sampling of what you will find at The Edge, and the combination of recipes from different regions gives this restaurant an edge over the competition. Its menu is full of variety, but still holds strongly to the traditional family foods of the region and some surprises with its Middle Eastern-American creations. Kelly Nissou said that its clientele is mostly American, so it provides them with some menu items, like The Edge Fries that can be used with beef or chicken Shawarma, chicken cream chops served on a bed of french-fries. This is another reason that sets this restaurant apart from the more traditional ones. But tradition is important to the Nissous, and they show that with their large family options combos and its large variety of Mediterranean foods.

The Edge has recently been approved for beer and wine, and will begin serving it as soon as it receives its official certification. It also has plans for a Mediterranean pizza bar where you can create your own pizza with traditional Mediterranean foods. This is something new and exciting for the family and for the public. This is another way that the restaurant caters to all people that love Middle Eastern food. It has some wonderful specials, with two sandwiches for $5.50 being a great deal for those on the go or looking for a lighter menu choice. It caters any events and you can call in your order ahead of time for either pick up or dine in.

I highly recommend The Edge Mediterranean Grill for those that love the flavors of the Middle East and for those who would like to give it a try. You’ll find quality, large proportions, and great taste. With such a variety of menu options and regional recipes, this is a place to give notice to. I do not believe you will be disappointed, I know that I was not, it was a delightful and delicious meal and the enthusiasm and love that Kelly and Antonio have for their family restaurant is nothing short of contagious.

The Edge Mediterranean Grill is located at 10010 Campo Road in Spring Valley and is open seven days a week. To find out more, see its menu, learn about its catering and events planning, visit www.theedgemediterranean.com.

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