At Judi Restaurant and Bakery, Falafel and Samoon Make Meatless Monday a Cinch

It's Monday again, and after a few treacherous Tex-Mex experiences, I'm ready to celebrate with a meatless meal I actually enjoy.

One place on the table is Judi Restaurant and Bakery, which quietly opened last summer at 850 South Greenville in Richardson. I'm surprised there hasn't been more fanfare. The small Richardson storefront turns out a football-shaped Iraqi samoon that crushes the offerings of many local bakeries, ethnic or otherwise. The chewy, fresh-baked loaves are perfect for dragging through the hand-crafted dips and salads the restaurant plates up for a song.

A tabouleh, loaded with fresh, chewy parsley and lemon juice, tastes like summer. Hummus comes in plain, spicy roast pepper laced, and a version so loaded with tahini you can see and taste the oily paste. Baba Ganoush is rich and velvety, and a cucumber and yogurt salad eats exactly how it reads.

Don't pick any one of these; try them all. For $6.99, Clara, who works the front counter, will plate up all of these salads alongside an oily pickle mixture that packs a punch. Be sure to request the samoon, though. The chewy bread puts their pita and tandoor offerings to shame.

If dipping bread isn't your thing, and you're still looking for veg, fear not. Judi Restaurant makes a passable falafel from scratch, too. The golf ball-sized orbs boast a thick, crunchy exterior that yields to a soft, steaming center that smells richly of cumin. Order it plated if you like, but I think it's best stuffed into some of that delicious freshly baked bread.

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