La Shish is back.
Almost three years after the August 2016 flood closed the longtime Denham Springs Greek and Lebanese restaurant, it has reopened in a new location off Magnolia Beach Road.
Once inside, paintings of Grecian landscapes along with archways get diners in the mood for the Middle Eastern cuisine to come. Ceramic tile in muted browns and greens accents the main dining room's upper walls, while the lower portion of the walls are painted a buttery yellow with white trim. Plants fill out and brighten the space, which offers table and booth seating.
Creatures of habit, a fried cheese appetizer, combination plate and meat moussaka are usually what ends up on our table at Greek and Lebanese restaurants. Maybe it was the newness of everything around us, but we opted to try different things on the menu, starting with the appetizer.
Our waitress, Ria, explained that the Baba Ghannooj ($5.50) features chargrilled eggplant in place of the pureed chickpeas and has a really smoky flavor. We love eggplant, but that overpowering smokiness, even when we dipped pita bread into the dish, was not for us.
The feta cheese salad, served before most of La Shish's entrees, was wonderfully refreshing. Mixed greens, feta cheese and slices of tomato and cucumber were tossed in a light and tangy house dressing. This can also be ordered separately ($3.99, small; $6.99, large).
The Mediterranean Chicken ($16.95), listed as a house specialty, was also a winner. Tender chunks of boneless chicken, sauteed red and green bell pepper and bits of feta cheese were seasoned with La Shish's "own special spices," according to the menu. We couldn't discern all the spices, but a dash of chili powder seemed to give it a mild kick. Served alongside creamy hummus and warm, soft pita bread, we'll certainly be ordering this one again.
The Stuffed Plate ($13.99) screamed "to-go box" when it arrived at the table. The platter contained two grape leaves, two cabbage leaves, a large squash and large bell pepper, all stuffed with a flavorful ground beef and rice mixture. A robust tomato sauce was poured over all elements. We appreciated that the grape leaves weren't bitter as we've found them at other places, and had a pleasing texture. We can also recommend the Grecian sauce that accompanies this dish. Puréed cucumber is blended with sour cream, garlic and spices for a lusciously smooth dip for the rolled leaves or the pita bread. When ordered as an appetizer, the sauce is $5.50.
We finished the meal with a shared dessert, tiramisu ($4.99). The fact that I've never cared for coffee but love this coffee-flavored dessert is a testament to its deliciousness. Sponge cake dipped in coffee, with a sweet, whipped mascarpone cheese filling tinged with cocoa separating the layers, and a dusting of cocoa topping it off — delightful.
Dining on a nonbusy Monday evening, our waitress was able to be super-attentive and also had time to recommend something for our next visit or to-go pickup. "You have to try our gyro pizza with our special white sauce. It's great," Ria advised.
Note to self: Add La Shish to my phone contacts.
7755 Magnolia Beach Road, Suite B, Denham Springs
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
(225) 667-8844; On Facebook: LaShish - Greek & Lebanese Restaurant
PROS: Chicken and stuffed plate entrees, helpful staff, and don't forget, tiramisu
CONS: Overly smoky Baba Ghannooj