Sandwiches can be roughly divided into two categories: neat and dainty or messy and manly. The true test of how messy a sandwich is not whether its ingredients overflow from the bun. It’s whether I remove my watch to eat it. The Jerusalem Mix ($14) at Grill House is such a sandwich. It sounds like a world music collection, but Jerusalem Mix, or Meurav Yerushalmi in Hebrew, is a popular Israeli street food.
Grill House’s version consists of a trifecta of meats—chicken, lamb, and beef—sautéed with a heady mix of spices and onions. Rama Hababa, Grill House’s matriarch, knows her way around the spice cabinet too. She used to run Pereg, the wonderful spice shop in the Israeli section of Main Street in Flushing. The shop is now closed, but Hababa still uses the Israeli company’s spices. She seasons the meats with Pereg’s shawarma seasoning, which if I had to guess includes such aromatic spices as cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom along with garlic and other goodies. Hababa wouldn’t tell me what’s in the shawarma seasoning, but did reveal another surprising ingredient in her Jerusalem Mix, mango powder.
The end result served on a hero with a shmear of hummus is a true hungry man sandwich, packed with sweet and spicy morsels of meat. It is even better with some fiery schug and creamy tahini. At first I tried to pick up this dreadnought of a sandwich. Eventually I succumbed to using a knife and fork. As I put my put my watch back on, I had a brief moment of buyer’s remorse. Fourteen bucks is a lot for a sandwich, but it’s still way cheaper than airfare to Jerusalem.
Grill House, 63-55 Wetherole St., Rego Park, 718-897-1575