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[Cheap Eats]

Mr. Pie
A square meal
BY MIKE MILIARD

on the cheap
Vici Koreana Real Pizza Caffè Rossini

Mr. Pie - the first stationary restaurant from the people who run the food carts heavily patronized by Harvard and MIT students - has six types of pie. There's cheese pie and meat pie, spinach pie and garden pie, egg pie, and something called zaatar pie. Zaatar is an interesting food: it's a mix of spices, the color and consistency of coffee grounds, swimming in a pungent, lemony kind of oil. We couldn't quite see how that would make for good pie, so we decided to order the meat pie ($3.50) and the spinach pie ($3.50).

The meat pie is not so much like a pie; it's more like a pizza - a soft, thin-crust pizza that's covered with spicy ground lamb and finely diced tomato. The spinach pie is triangular, with a light, butter-glazed crust concealing robustly flavored marinated greens. Both were very tasty, and very filling.

But if you think pie is the only thing to eat at Mr. Pie, you are mistaken. Mr. Pie has all kinds of Middle Eastern, Lebanese, and Greek food. So even though the pies were filling, we opted to keep on eating. (After all, we did have 25 bucks to spend.)

We ordered us up some lamb kebab ($6.75). The plate came loaded with salad, tender marinated zucchini and tomato, and a vast expanse of rice pilaf. It was good lamb - a little burnt around the edges, but kebab meat is s'posed to be like that.

Mr. Pie also has something called the Mr. Pie special-combo plate ($7.95), on which you can get chicken, lamb kebab, steak kebab, or hamburger accompanied by felafel, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, baba, or tabouleh. Foolishly, we had ordered only the lamb-kebab plate, not the Mr. Pie special-combo plate. So, quick thinkers that we are, we decided to create a our own version of the combo by ordering sides of grape leaves ($1.99) and felafel ($1.50). Both were decent; the felafel was a little dry, but the grape leaves were cool and flavorful.

Finally, after all that pie and non-pie food, it was time for dessert. That baklava ($1.50) is the ideal end to a very filling meal - and much more appropriate than a plain ol' slice of apple pie.

Mr. Pie, located at 645 Cambridge Street, in Cambridge, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Call (617) 661-4555.

Issue Date: May 3-10, 2001