Spring Lamb, a la Armenian

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You wonder how a tiny, nine-table, family run Armenian cafe could survive two years on the fringes of Boca Raton's ritzy Mizner Park: But order a plate of Boca Skewers' falafel, and you'll get the picture. These crunchy little balls of fried, spiced chickpeas may be served on a plastic plate with paper napkins, but there's no doubt they're made from scratch by a cook whose family has refined the recipe over generations. At Boca Skewers the falafel are served with a "secret sauce" made from yogurt, garlic, and spices. The small, reasonably priced Mediterranean menu ranges from grilled lamb kebabs ($16.99) crosshatched with char -- rich, tender, and long marinated -- to chicken soltani, smoky organic eggplant stew ($11.99), and kafte kebabs ($12.99) of ground beef pressed and grilled on a skewer, all accompanied by a side of lentil-flecked rice sweetened with a touch of sugar. You've seen these appetizers, pita sandwiches, and salads on other menus: stuffed grape leaves, baba ghannouj, kibbeh, spinach pie, salads flecked with mint and parsley, but rarely prepared with such care. There's lots to wow vegetarians. And the Armenian families you'll find eating here aren't complaining. Open for lunch and dinner. Boca Skewers 130 NE 2nd Street (in Mizner Plaza). Boca Raton 561-347-9961.

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