Located at the mouth of the main entrance of the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood Florida is a little middle eastern/Israeli diner nestled next to an "arcade" and porn outlet. We walked in as a large group walked out, patting their bellies and grinning. Simultaneously carrying on a heated conversation in Hebrew with a co-worker, wishing the large, happy group a farewell and welcoming us was the owner, a fiery Israeli woman who exuded all the warmth and strength of an army of mothers. Attentive and friendly, the service was outstanding.
The owner is a bit over the top. She tells us she never forgets the face, and sometimes "that's not so good". She asks if we are Jewish. She knows that I am (you can tell just by looking at me, I guess.) and answers for me. She tells us about how her food is all kosher but the rabbis are mad at her because she's open on Saturdays.
The decor is sparse and chintzy. It has cheap looking tables, a waiter's station crammed in the corner and a wall with a half finished mural that's vaguely Middle Eastern or possibly Italian. The owner is all the atmosphere you need.
Prices are fair, most dishes are about $10. The food was made with care, served extremely hot and seasoned perfectly.
As good as the food is, the menu leans towards the strange for a middle eastern grill. The owner tries to please too many kinds of patrons perhaps, by adding mysterious entries such as yucca fries and plantains. Maybe they are done well, but I wouldn't go to Nava Grill for Latin food.
Immediately after we ordered, we were given 3 kinds of luncheon salad: an egg based potato salad, a purple cabbage slaw and a sour white cabbage slaw. All three were unique and really quite good. Everything was crisp and fresh.
I ordered the hummus and falafel app which was served with two hot fresh grilled pita breads. The pita bread was INCREDIBLE. It was soft, moist and sturdy.
I also tried the kafta kabob pita sandwich, which is ground seasoned lamb. It was mouthwatering. Literally. I drooled a little when I tasted it.
I will definitely go back to try some of the Israeli food on the menu: bourekas, malawach, (breads/pastries) shaksuka, (a tomato based baked egg dish), cholent ( a long simmered strew prepared to get through the sabbath) and some other things I've never heard of.
As ancestrally Jewish, it's probably a shame I never really bothered until now to get to know Israeli foods. I visited Israel once when I was 4 years old but only learned to love hummus during that visit. I think it's about time I got to know it and Nava's Grill seems like a great place to start.
Only because I didn't get to try much and I STILL think Kease's by the beach has the best falafel:
**** (4) Heey, that's pretty good!