The menu has a wide variety of traditional Middle-Eastern dishes. The seasoning tends to be very flavorful, but not overly spicy. There are several combination dinners available if you wish to have a sample of several dishes.
During dinner hours, Sultan’s serves baskets of puffy warm pita bread, freshly baked in the open hearth. We ordered the Hommous and Baba Ghannouge combo at $6.25 to slather on the fresh pita bread. The combo consists of a plate filled with hummus and chickpeas mixed with tahini and lemon juice on one half, and baba ghannouge and baked eggplant mixed with tahini, lemon, garlic and yogurt on the other half. The plate is garnished with dark pink pickled turnip slices (my personal favorite — hot pink food!).
Dinners come with a choice of soup or salad. I chose the House Salad, which is a mix of lettuce, cucumber, shredded red cabbage, parsley and tomato. The house dressing is a tangy blend of lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar, with a touch of fresh garlic and herbs. It was crunchy and refreshing. My dinner partners opted for the Crushed Lentil Soup. The thick, savory yellow lentil soup was served with a squeeze of lemon, and they both really enjoyed it. We also sampled the Guava Smoothie for $3.90. This is a blend of guava with fresh strawberries, bananas, honey and crushed ice. It’s like drinking summer in a glass!
I ordered the Eggplant and Cauliflower plate for $8.45. Both the eggplant and cauliflower are flash fried, so this is not a low-fat meal, but it’s worth the calories! There is no batter on the vegetables. The eggplant was soft on the inside and the cauliflower took on a nice nutty flavor. It is served with tabbouli, a tart parsley and cracked wheat salad, and hummus on the side. One of my dinner partners had the Chicken Shawarma plate, which is pieces of marinated boneless, skinless chicken roasted on a rotating skewer. The chicken is served with garlic sauce and rice pilaf for $9.95. The chicken was well seasoned, and she really enjoyed the rice pilaf.
My other dinner partner ordered the Shish Kafta at $10.90. This plate includes four skewers of ground lamb mixed with onions and parsley. The lamb is charbroiled with grilled mixed bell pepper and is served with tahini sauce and rice pilaf. The lamb was very flavorful, but a bit overdone. There is a choice of steamed veggies instead of the rice pilaf, if you wish to avoid carbs.
Although we did not have dessert this time, Sultan’s offers a variety of flaky phyllo dough-based pastries for $1.25. One of my favorites, Fingers, are crunchy finger-sized rolls of buttery, nutty delight. The Rice Pudding at $2.90 is sweet and creamy and can be served topped with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.
The night I was there it looked like there were as many servers as diners! Our server was prompt, accommodating with a special sauce request, and offered a fresh basket of pita bread as soon as ours was empty.
Located in the corner of a strip mall, the dining room is large with lots of natural light from the windows on two sides. All of the tables are upholstered booths, which makes the open space cozier. Sultan’s draws a mixed group of couples, families and students, and the atmosphere is very casual. The restaurant is nonsmoking.
The portions are generous and the prices are good for the fresh quality of food served. The lunch menu is an especially good value with a variety of rolled sandwiches, most in the $3.50 to $3.75 range.
Sultan’s Mediterranean Cuisine & Bakery
4790 S. Hagadorn Rd.
East Lansing, MI