As a patron that frequents the Canal District more than any other section in Worcester, I was surprised to learn that the restaurant that we would be dining at was on a very familiar area of Water Street. Bay State Shawarma and Grill is a restaurant that you may walk past ten times, but not pay it any attention. If this has been the case for some of our readers, then you should begin to take notice because this restaurant will be a pleasant surprise to your taste buds. Having a general idea of what Middle Eastern food had to offer, but not had the chance to truly sample shawarma, I had to go with a staple…the chicken shawarma dinner plate ($7.99). I began my meal with the hummus ($4.99), which was homemade and topped with a healthy drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and sliced pickles and served with pita bread. The hummus was smooth and hearty, with the olive oil adding a nice richness to the appetizer, while the pita bread with the perfect scooping vessel to deliver the delicious hummus to my mouth.
Now it was time for my dinner plate that I mentioned earlier. Fore go the fancy dinnerware and cutlery, as it is all paper plates and plastic forks. However, in no way does this detract from the experience whatsoever. On the flip side, it actually speeds up the serving process and limits the clean up as well. This meal came with a large portion of sliced chicken, served over rice (best comparison would be to rice pilaf). On the side, it came a side salad, and a variety of pickled vegetables, a small serving of hummus, and an onion-garlic-mint paste that was incredible. The chicken was seasoned nicely and was very juicy. What the kicker was for me were the pickled veggies and onion-garlic-mint paste. These additions added a great acidity to the dish, as well as a nice crunchy texture. The paste was also unassumingly spicy and was to die for when combined with the chicken and the rice. I routinely found myself taking a small portion of everything and mixing it together for one bite. Next time I visit this restaurant, and there definitely will be a next time, I am eager to try one of the different middle eastern dishes that they offer. Everything looked amazing, and from what I tasted, they have created a new fan in Middle Eastern cuisine.