I literally clapped my hands with glee when someone told me a new restaurant called Petra Grill had opened in Carle Place. Aside from its many Turkish restaurants and markets, Long Island is woefully short on Middle Eastern cuisine, and only natives of Jordan would name their restaurant after that country’s most famous archaeological site. (One of the owners of Kabobshak in Selden grew up in Jordan, but, as far as I know, that’s the extent of Jordanian food on Long Island.)
Petra Grill is in a little strip mall across Old Country Road from Ruby Tuesday, sandwiched between a Denny’s and a Retro Fitness gym. In fact, said Nadia Sayegh, the location used to be a gym; it took a year to transform the space into a 130-seat restaurant.
Sayegh’s partner in the venture is her husband, Mansour Al-Hijazin. The couple owned The Grill at Roosevelt Field mall from 1993 to 2014, when the old food court began its transformation into the “dining district.”
Petra Grill’s menu offers Middle Eastern dishes, both familiar and exotic — plus a few American items. Starters include hummus (here garnished with parsley, sumac and a sort of Middle Eastern gremolata of lemon juice, olive oil and green pepper), tabbouleh, falafel, kibbe (fried meat-wheat croquettes), lahmajeen (ground-meat-topped flatbread), fried cauliflower and mozzarella sticks. Salads include fattoush (greens and herbs with pita chips), Greek and Caesar.
There are grilled kebabs, steaks, chops and fish; sandwiches, wraps and panini; burgers and cheese steaks. In the kitchen spin two vertical spits, one with chicken shawarma, one with beef-lamb shawarma.
Petra Grill has a full bar. It’s open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
373 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-743-9045, mypetragrill.com