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First bites @ Azerbaijan Grill, East Meadow

Jujeh kebab at Azerbaijan Grill, East Meadow

Jujeh kebab at Azerbaijan Grill, East Meadow Photo Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick

What struck me right away about the new East Meadow branch of Westbury's Azerbaijan Grill was the scope of the storefront’s transformation. The once-dowdy former digs of Turnpike Shish Kebab has been given a new look with handsome wood furnishings and soft contemporary art. Walls are painted a soothing sage green, trimmed with white crown moldings and chair rails.

But enough HGTV talk. It’s the food (with Turkish, Persian and Mediterranean influences) that drew me and, in that respect, the kitchen came through.

Dinner entrees, amazingly, are only $12.95 Monday to Thursday nights. Even so, it was worthwhile to “splurge“ on appetizers, like the smoky, seductive baba ghanoush, garlicky hummus or flaky spinach pie ($5.95 each; three appetizers for $14.95). Among entree standouts: jujeh kebab (skewered, grilled lemon and saffron marinated bone-in pieces of Cornish hen) and kobedih kebab (skewered grilled spiced ground beef and lamb), both juicy and savory. Accompanying basmati rice, whether brown or white, was downright addictive. For an extra  $2.95, you can have yours kicked up with cherries or cranberries.

Azerbaijan Grill is at 2320 Hempstead Ave., East Meadow, 516-644-2200. The original branch is at 610 Old Country Rd., Westbury; 516-228-0001.

Above: Jujeh kebab with cherry basmati rice at Azerbaijan Grill, East Meadow


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