From BBQ to Bombolotti

We hit four completely unconnected restaurants for some tapas-length reviews.

Noodles Panini also offers up its sauce, meatballs, and other ingredients from a takeout counter located in the center of the tight space. And if you're the soft-meatball type, you'll be bringing them home by the quart.


Boca Skewers 130 NE Second St., Boca Raton.

Open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. till 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday till 10 p.m. Call 561-347-9961, or visit bocaraton.com/bocaskewers

You might wonder how a tiny, nine-table, family-run Armenian café could survive two years on the fringes of Boca's ritzy Mizner Park. But order a plate of Boca Skewers' falafel, and you'll get the picture. These crunchy little balls of fried, spiced chickpeas may be served on a plastic plate with paper napkins, but there's no doubt they're made from scratch by a cook whose family has refined the recipe over generations.

At Boca Skewers, the falafel is served with a "secret sauce" made from yogurt, garlic, and spices. The small, reasonably priced Mediterranean menu ranges from grilled lamb kebabs ($16.99) crosshatched with char — rich, tender, and long marinated — to chicken soltani, smoky organic eggplant stew ($11.99), and kafte kebabs ($12.99) of ground beef pressed and grilled on a skewer, all accompanied by a side of lentil-flecked rice sweetened with a touch of sugar.

You've seen these appetizers, pita sandwiches, and salads on other menus: stuffed grape leaves, baba ghannouj, kibbeh, spinach pie, salads flecked with mint and parsley, but rarely prepared with such care. There's lots to wow vegetarians. And the Armenian families you'll find eating here aren't complaining. Gail Shepherd

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