Sami’s

Not keeping late-night hours, but still delivering the Lebanese goods
By MC SLIM JB  |  August 20, 2008
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Boston has a well-deserved and ignominious reputation for rolling up its sidewalks early. Dining options for night owls are limited to a handful of Chinatown eateries and a few dubious diners. We also suffer from a dearth of good street food: what we’d give for one decent LA-style taco truck! Given this dual paucity of wee-hours noshing and meals on wheels, I was always grateful for Sami’s, a 24-hour Lebanese food truck stationed in the Longwood Medical District, where I could get a falafel sandwich at 4 am alongside graveyard-shift firefighters, cops, and hospital workers. The truck became a trailer and moved to an Avenue Louis Pasteur sidewalk, then scaled back its hours to breakfast and lunch only.

My perennial favorite was always the Mike’s No. 2 combo wrap ($5), falafel and hummus. (Penny-pinchers note: prices are about 15 percent cheaper here than at sibling Sami’s Wrap ’N Roll, located indoors at the nearby Longwood Galleria food court.) This is still a great falafel sandwich: fresh Syrian flatbread rolled around an excellent falafel of favas and chickpeas, redolent of garlic, parsley, and allspice, creamy in the center and nicely crisp outside, with good garlicky hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a drizzle of tahini. The Mike’s No. 2 combo ($5) replaces the hummus with lemony tabbouleh. If you want to sample Sami’s shawarma wrap of chicken or beef and lamb ($4.75), order it at the Galleria up the street, where it’s sliced fresh off the roast.

Kebab wraps ($4.75) are stuffed to bursting with well-marinated chunks of chicken or steak; by peeling back the tight foil wrapping as you eat, you can reasonably dine on the run without making a mess. As fast food goes, this is pretty healthy eating, and you can go even lighter with a big Greek salad ($4.30) of fine, not overly salty feta, tomatoes, cukes, green peppers, and olives with a fresh house-made dressing. (They’ll also turn this into a portable wrap for you at no extra charge.) The filter coffee by Victor’s (75 cents/small; $1/medium; $1.25/large) is excellent and a bargain. While neither Sami’s nor I burn the midnight oil the way we used to, it’s gratifying to see it still churning out fresh-tasting Lebanese fare at slightly more sensible hours.

Sami’s, located on the sidewalk of Avenue Louis Pasteur near Longwood Avenue (approximately at 167 Avenue Louis Pasteur), is open Monday through Thursday, from 6 am to 3 pm, and on Friday, from 6 am to 2:30 pm. Call 617.432.0402.

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