Vegan Mediterranean restaurant “Shouk” offers convenient pick-up, but at the price of freshness


photo by Irit Skulnik

Skulnik ordered a pita stuffed with falafel, pickled green cabbage and Israeli salad.

Irit Skulnik, News Editor

Located in Washington D.C., the Mediterranean restaurant known as Shouk is underwhelming in freshness, but overall decent. The restaurant serves traditional Israeli street food with a vegan twist. 

My family and I did not want to go all the way to D.C. for dinner so we took advantage of Shouk’s hood drop service. The hood drop service allows customers to pick up orders in their neighborhood. Shouk has specific weekdays that correspond to hood drop locations. Customers simply place an order online and select the day and location they would like to pick up their food. I got my food from Ohr Kodesh Congregation, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. 

The Shouk menu primarily offers two main ingredients; falafel and mushroom shawarma, you can then opt to have it in a bowl or a pita. While there are other options, like salads and sandwiches, if you are looking for traditional Israeli fare then falafel and shawarma are as close as it gets. I ordered falafel in a pita, hummus, sweet potato french fries and a side of cashew labneh. 

The falafel was a good-sized portion but had a mediocre taste. The balls were cooked well with a crunchy exterior and soft inside, but they lacked in flavor. However, the hummus had olive oil and zaatar, an Israeli spice on top, making it very flavorful. The sweet potato fries were my favorite, as they were cooked to perfection. Lastly, the cashew labneh was very sour with the cashew taste far too strong for my liking. 

That being said, all the food was slightly cold and soggy presumably because of the drive from the restaurant to Chevy Chase. While the hood drop is very convenient, the food lacks freshness. have eaten at Shouk directly from the restaurant previously and the food was much better because it was warm and fresh. 

The hood drop process itself was very easy. The app and website are user-friendly and the pickup process is really simple. I arrived ten minutes late so I was worried about my order, but the restaurant worker stayed with my food until I came. 

If you are a vegan this is a good option for you. However, I am not and so I would recommend going to a different place where you can have lamb shawarma or full dairy labneh. 

Overall, the restaurant was slightly disappointing. If you are going to make the trip to D.C., I would go to Taim instead, another Israeli street food restaurant. However, it is worth doing the hood drop if you are in a pinch for dinner, just know you will have to rewarm your food.