Friday, July 20, 2018

Shooting for the Moon at Luna Grill

Luna Grill
26921 Aliso Creek Road
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

I think that it's safe to say that Mediterranean cuisine has hit the mainstream. It used to be that if you wanted some hummus, kabobs, or falafel you would have to seek out a sit-down restaurant a few cities over. Now it seems that Mediterranean options abound, and almost every shopping center has at least one option where you can partake of skewered proteins, delicious basmati rice, and fresh pita bread. One quick service restaurant that is leading the charge to bring this food to the masses is Luna Grill.

Luna Grill was founded by Sean and Maria Pourteymour back in 2004. They started this business because they were looking for a quick and healthy option to provide for their daughter. Back then the options would have been a Happy Meal or maybe some fried chicken from a supermarket. Not the case anymore thanks to their Luna Grill, which has now expanded to 49 locations in California and Texas.

Luna Grill serves a fusion of Mediterranian and Middle Eastern cuisines, which not only tastes good but is way more healthier than a lot of the other options out there. Sean and Maria are doing things the right way here, as they provide food that is sourced with a focus on sustainability, quality, and animal welfare. They also support locally harvested produce on their plates, which means a fresher and better meal for you and your family.

I had never visited Luna Grill before we were invited in to experience what they have to offer. Katie was traveling for work, so I grabbed my good friend Oz, who was a Luna Grill veteran to come with me and show me the ropes here. We arrived at the Aliso Viejo location right after 6 on a recent Wednesday evening. The restaurant was pretty packed, with plenty of people happily eating in their deceptively spacious dining room, and out on the patio to the right of the restaurant. Oz and I quickly made our selections at the register and found a nice table near the window, which was ideal for people watching while we vented about work. After a short time, our food was brought out to our table.

We started things off with one of the newest items on the Luna Gill menu, this Dip Trio ($7.75). Can't decide between your favorite Mediterranean dips and sauces?  This is the starter for you. You get your choice of spicy or regular hummus, garlic sauce, and spicy feta. It's also served with sliced carrots and celery, along with soft and fresh pita. One of my favorite things about eating Mediterranean food is the sauces and this was a great option to go along with our meal. The spicy hummus had a nice kick to it, which kept me coming back for more. I liked the garlic sauce with my chicken entree which you will see coming up. I was not in love with the spicy feta, but I'm not normally a feta fan, but Oz seemed to enjoy all right.

Both Oz and I got the same thing, which benefits you as it's less of my awful writing that you have to endure. The Flat Cut Chicken Kabob Plate ($12.75) would be our meal this evening. This very balanced meal came with thinly sliced chicken, a house salad, a big mound of basmati rice, sliced pita, a grilled tomato garnish, and plenty of cucumber yogurt sauce. I'm always a little leery about getting chicken in restaurants because a lot of time its overcooked and comes out dry. That was not the case here at Luna Grill. The chicken was tender and moist and got a good char on it from the grill. It was made even better when I alternated eating it with the garlic sauce from the dip trio and the addictive cucumber yogurt sauce. The serving size of the rice was more than adequate for me, and the salad featured a butter lettuce and romaine duo with red onion, cucumber, and a tangy house vinaigrette. I'd probably forgo the vinaigrette next time in favor of the cucumber yogurt sauce, which I would imagine would be an excellent dressing for my salad.

I left Luna Grill full and satisfied but did not have that sluggish feeling that I usually get when exiting a restaurant. I felt pretty good eating this healthier and lighter meal than I am used to. My body seemed to be thanking me for taking care of it. I'm not going to shy away from burgers, burritos, and pizzas anytime soon, but I probably will find the time to come back to Luna Grill rather frequently. The food made me feel good, they got it out quickly, and the staff here were very welcoming. We saw them checking on their guests in their dining room numerous times during our stay. I'm eyeing the lamb or the filet on my next visit. Glad Mediterranean cuisine is more readily available these days.

For your nearest location or for more information about Luna Grill, head to their website here:

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