Culinary Culver City – Mega Pizza and Grille does Middle Eastern exotic with great panache

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In this day and age, when restaurants seem hell-bent on outdoing each other when it comes to swanky, hip names, there’s something incredibly refreshing about a place, a really nice-looking place in fact, calling itself Mega Pizza. But then, there are more than a few odd things about this awesome joint.

First of all, the pizza is highlighted in the name, but they serve a hell of a lot more than that. In fact, the restaurant’s tagline is “Scandinavian style pizza and Persian cuisine.”

How did that combination of cultures find each other? We’re talking pizza with a Swedish/Danish/Norwegian flavor, plus Middle Eastern food.

There is, in fact, an entire “non-traditional pizza” section on the menu, that includes not only the Copenhagen chicken pizza, but also, inexplicably but gloriously, the Copenhagen gyro pizza. Mind = blown.

There’s so much to choose from that’s intriguing. Sadly, we’re still suffering from the post-holiday bloat, so decided to go relatively light. Or at least, we thought we did.

For an appetizer, we chose the dolmeh – beautifully oily grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, and drizzled with garlic sauce. These little green fingers of yum are terribly addictive, and because they’re green and leafy, you can trick yourself into thinking that they’re diet friendly. Never mind all the rice and oil on there. But no matter, they’re bite-sized perfection.

For the main dish, we chose the gyro salad, again allowing ourselves the luxury of pretending that we’re dieting. In fact, when the dish arrives, it’s piled to the ceiling with tasty, fragrant gyro meat. Underneath is a nice mixed leaf bed, and there are cucumber slices dotted with halves of cherry tomatoes around the edge. There’s some red onion in there somewhere, and the whole thing is finished with a delicious “mega” garlic dressing.

Besides the size of the dish (we manage to finish but only because we weren’t in any sort of rush), the meat is cooked to perfection.

All too often, gyro meat comes dry, cold and cardboardy. Not here – the meat is piping hot, juicy and seasoned to perfection.

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