Jerusalem is a veggie-friendly oasis on Evans

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Even on off-hours on most weekdays, the patio is half-full and there are several occupied tables inside the tiny restaurant -- which indicates that Jerusalem is either near a university or is really tasty. Or, in this case, both.

The shaded patio was close to full on the hot afternoon last week when we pulled up at this longtime University of Denver favorite, crowded with two-tops in no particular hurry to go anywhere. So we headed into the comfortable inside dining area, lined with rugs and awards adorning the walls (many from this publication).

The vegetarian combo looked like a lot of others we've sampled in terms of composition -- falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, dolmades, tabouleh, fattoush and rice -- with the exception of "fried potatoes," aka french fries, cut thick and fried to a crisp-on-the-outside, hot-and-mealy-on-the-inside perfection. The falafel was beautifully browned, the tabbouleh refreshing and balanced, and the baba ghanouj and hummus were both standout. Another surprise winner: the dolmades, aka stuffed grape leaves, which were perfectly sized and not too greasy.

On the appetizer menu, the fouel was a fantastic option -- fava beans blended with garlic, lemon juice and oil. Served with pita bread (which took a while to get to the table but were delicious when we finally got it), it was more than enough for two people; four could split this portion comfortably.

Jerusalem is open late at night, too; hours are 9 a.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 303-777-8828 or visit www.jerusalemrestaurant.com.

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