Juicy lamb and a juicer.

A juice bar seems like a strange place to find a ground lamb sandwich.  Yet that was the scene for last night’s dinner – Nectar, which seems to be primarily in the business of concocting various fruit juice blends, also serves food.  Juice and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food go together more often than you’d expect, though, and Nectar’s food, at least, is good enough to make me curious about the juices.

A block away from the Smith St. dining strip, across from the corner of Wyckoff St. and Court St., Nectar is a tiny little storefront with only a couple tables and a bench on which to wait.  It forgoes the relaxed atmosphere of a restaurant or coffee shop in favor of something a little brighter and more functional – the orange juicer is on the front counter, for example, and the table area seems designed to attract the odd stroller-pushing couple who can’t easily take their food to go.

Nectar offers various kinds of sandwiches and salads, and most of the salads are also available in wrap form.  My roommate and I both ended up with the Moroccan lamb wrap, the salad form of which had been recommended by a co-worker of my girlfriend.  No juices this time, though I was tempted by the selection of Ciao Bella sorbets and gelatos.

We toted the food home (after a stop to pick up dessert at the adjoining Tasti-D – no Ciao Bella by any means) and cracked open our plastic containers.  Accompanying a small-sized (for a burrito, I guess – not a fair comparison) wrap was a container of cole slaw that seemed to have a hint of cilantro.   The wrap itself was full of ground lamb that had the consistency of freshly sautéed hamburger – greasy, tasty, and flavorful.  The grease was balanced by the presence of feta cheese, onions, a little lettuce, and the chewy (but not stale) herbed tortilla that surrounded the whole enterprise.

How does Nectar’s wrap rate on the global scale of lamb sandwiches?  Well, I wouldn’t pick it over a good doner kebap, nor is it the equal of Bedouin Tent’s lamb or merguez sandwiches (both of which, I might add, are cheaper) – both bread and meat at Bedouin Tent are superior.  But, for a change of pace, or for those Cobble Hillers who just need a quick bite on the way home, the Moroccan lamb wrap ($7.75) is a fine choice.

With regards to the un-sampled juices: my favorite Syrian restaurant in Berlin also has a few juices to choose from – in the Middle East, apparently, juices are not considered just a kids or breakfast drink.  So Nectar’s concept of a juice bar with Mediterranean food isn’t that far off the mark, though I’m unsure if that’s exactly what the owners were shooting for (considering the rest of the menu, including the all day breakfast, betray little Mediterranean influence, maybe not).  Given the equipment present, the juices are apparently a much fresher than my beloved cherry-banana juice (which, at Al Kalif, is mixed from two bottles of Looza).  So Nectar has improved considerably on that part of the formula, wittingly or not – if their juices are as good as their sandwiches, Nectar could be even more appealing.

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