Layla Grill in Salt Lake City

Braised lamb at Layla in Salt Lake City.
Layla's famous lamb was spectacular.

I have a severe weakness for lamb.  Whenever there’s a lamb dish on a menu, it’s a pretty sure bet that that’s my order.  So when several people gushed to me about how amazing the lamb is at Layla Grill, I was a little more than intrigued.  Last week I finally got around to trying it and, well, Layla’s lamb is to die for.

[Image via facebook.]
[Image via facebook.]
Located in the southern end of Salt Lake City, Layla Grill serves Mediterranean food in a cute restaurant with a neighborhood feel to it.  My friends and I went after a long Saturday of errands and forgot to make reservations.  Bad idea; the wait was over an hour.  We opted to sit at the bar to cut down our wait time and ended up having a great experience with excellent service while sitting stool side.

The combination appetizer plate at Layla Mediterranean Grill in Salt Lake City.
The combination appetizer plate was a great start to our meal.

Layla’s menu has a lot of Mediterranean favorites on it, like beef or chicken shwarma (similar to gyro meat, served in a sandwich-like wrap), kabobs, Moussaka (a rich, layered eggplant dish), a swarm of salad options (including Fattoush, a pita bread salad) and more.  Anxious to get a taste of Layla’s flavor, we started with a combination appetizer platter (available in combos of three/$13, and four/$16) of Muhammara Walnut Spread, a rich and savory dip made with walnuts, red peppers and pomegranate molasses; Grape Leaves stuffed with a blend of rice, onions, tomatoes, parsley, mint and heavy hit of lemon juice; and Mediterranean Crab Cakes, a spicy, dense version of the classic.

Braised lamb at Layla in Salt Lake City.
Layla’s famous lamb was spectacular.

Without hesitation, my friend and I ordered the Moroccan Lamb Shank ($21), a massive chunk of lamb slowly braised in a burgundy demi-glaze sauce with dried apricots and savory spices.  It was fall-off-the-bone tender, juicy and rich; a simply magnificent lamb dish.  Oh and it was served with Lebanese vermicelli rice and brussel sprouts, but to be honest, I didn’t even notice them on my plate until about halfway through my lamb.

The Musakhen at Layla Grill in Salt Lake City.
The Musakhen is one of Layla’s signature dishes.

My other friend ordered the Musakhen ($14.50), a sandwich-like wrap filled with chicken, caramelized onions, sumac and pine nuts.  The thin flatbread was browned on the outside in more spices, giving it even more flavor.  It may look like a typical wrap, but the intense flavors made it far more spectacular.

Chocolate pie at Layla Grill in Salt Lake City.
Ending the meal with a bit of sweetness.

We finished our meal by splitting the Chocolate Pie, the special of the evening.  It was nice to end on a sweet note, but I wasn’t impressed by it.  Next time I’ll opt for more appetizers and skip the dessert.

Layla Grill is my new go-to place when I’m south of Salt Lake City with its amazing food, welcoming atmosphere and outstanding service.  We felt like the only diners in the restaurant, even though it was packed!  Now I just have to convince myself to try something else before giving in and getting that lamb dish again!

Go to Layla Grill for :: a delicious dinner packed with flavor in a relaxing setting.  Notes :: Open Monday through Friday for lunch, 11:30 a.m-2:00p.m; Monday through Thursday for dinner 5:00 p.m-9:30 p.m and Friday and Saturday for dinner 5:00 p.m-10:00 p.m.  Reservations are available (and recommended) by calling 801-272-9111.  Friend Layla on facebook or follow them on twitter for updates.

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