I have been called a sandwich snob. That accusation is false. However, I do believe in something called sandwich theory. This is my quest to find the greatest sandwiches in Madison. Send me your sandwich recommendations by email or on Twitter or Instagram.
I stretched my legs for real this time with a trip to the far west side for some Middle Eastern cuisine at Mad Shawarma. Located in a newer strip mall off Old Sauk Road, the owner met me with a friendly smile and asked if I had any questions. I selected the meat shawarma sandwich of beef and lamb strips, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and tahini sauce wrapped in traditional flatbread.
I upgraded my sandwich from pita bread to a traditional, thinner flatbread. It was griddled briefly after being constructed which warmed it and gave it a little crunch on the outside. The tortilla-like flatbread contrasted well with the rich makings. (It was fun rating something other than leavened sandwich bread!)
The meat, which was beef and lamb sliced off a vertical rotisserie, could’ve used more spice and seasoning. It tasted a little flat and and the texture was mushy, but as you can see by my rating, it wasn’t terrible. There was a lot of meat, and some more tahini and veggies would have been welcome.
The sandwich wasn’t overstuffed, but wasn’t skimpy either. A well-balanced offering; even though it got a little bread heavy toward the wrapped end, there was still enough makings hanging out to get a solid final two bites.
To upgrade from pita to traditional bread, it’s an extra $1. But for $9.75 total, you get the sandwich and a handful of fries, which were freshly made and just the right amount as a side. The sandwich was well portioned, and I left pleasantly full but not overstuffed.
Mad Shawarma only opened last September and — be warned — parking is pretty tight due to construction. The owner was super friendly and eager for feedback, plus they had a little kids’ area. I don’t have a full handle on the Middle Eastern options in Madison yet, but if you’re on the west side and craving some shawarma, Mad Shawarma is your stop.