The Unvegan

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Cousin’s (CLOSED)

A pretty-looking doner of meat and the veggies that would remain untouched.
A pretty-looking doner of meat and the veggies that would remain untouched.

I was craving shwarma. It was late and it was freezing, so my options were limited to food within walking distance. Once again, I found myself in Lincoln Park, Chicago, and needed to find food fast. As luck would have it, I was directed to Cousin’s, a Turkish restaurant.

Cousin’s has the general ambiance of a typical Turkish or Middle-Eastern restaurant, with pictures of Turkey, arts, urns and hookahs on the wall. As a bonus, it also has some floor seating, which I can only assume is the traditional way to eat in Turkey.

I arrived too late for floor seating, but settled down at a nice enough table. To my dismay, the menu lacked shwarma, but it tried to make up for it by offering a variety of meaty delights. The Chicken Doner looked particularly good, so I ordered it, making sure to ask the waiter if there were any vegetables mixed in with the meat. Fortunately, he told me the only vegetables were on the side.

While waiting, I noticed that Cousin’s had won an award for “Best Non-Vegetarian Restaurant for Vegetarians.” This worried me greatly. If their non-meat food was so good, could they possibly have good meat food?

As I pondered the possible dangers of where I was eating, my chicken doner came. It looked pretty, but how would it taste? I took a forkful of meat and rice, chewed it up and swallowed. Yum. It was good. Really good. It was perfectly seasoned and charbroiled. The tasty chicken juiced even dripped down to the bed of rice pilaf and enhanced it. I even began to forget about the lack of shwarma and the strange award the restaurant had won. I felt bad for the vegetables that remained untouched on the plate in the wake of my meat-eating frenzy, but they had made a worthy sacrifice for a real meal.

If you’re ever hankering for a good veggie-free Middle-Eastern meal in Chicago, Cousin’s is a great bet. If you happen to have vegetarian friends (not sure why you would), they can enjoy it just as much as a good, wholesome meat-eater.