No frills dinner magic at Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine. Heck, even Big Bird can join in.

Considering that I'm out to dinner nearly every night each week, Sunday evening in my house should be a time when the family sits down to a peaceful meal cooked at home. But when you have two small children and everyone is constantly on the go, the weekly grocery store run typically gets pushed back to Monday, meaning at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, we're racing to figure out just what the heck to do for dinner.

Recently, we were in that very pickle and I responded with "Let's go to Aladdin." The second location of the popular Montrose staple for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare has been open for a year now, and let me ask you a question: Is there a better quick family dining experience than this place?

I ordered two entree-and-three-sides plates (about $30 after tax) and opted for all the things I figured my picky 2-year-old would eat: a couple grain dishes (saffron rice, caprese orzo, Israeli couscous salad), two servings of hummus, copious bread, and bone-in chicken (she loves holding drumsticks) and lamb kabobs (she loves meat on skewers). She picked at this and that, and while she had more hummus than we would've liked, she tried just about everything. That's the mark of a successful dinner.

I fell hardest for the couscous salad, the perfect summer side, as it includes halved strawberries that provided a little sweetness, plus crispy apple slices. With some roasted carrots and squash, I didn't even miss the meat (though the chicken, especially, was delicious). 

While I may not be telling you anything new here since Aladdin is a pretty popular place, here's a gentle reminder that when the dinner situation is a little hairy, and the kids are making your head spin, it's hard to find a better option in the city.

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