At Ta-eem Grill, a late-night Israeli joint on Melrose, where a dripping shawarma spit turns seductively in the window, you choose a style of bread and build your sandwich by choosing toppings à la Subway: a dab of baba ghanoush and crushed garlic-chile sauce, a bit of Israeli salad or a handful of green olives. Once you've assembled the perfect shawarma vehicle, thin strips of moist chicken are shaved off and piled on. The meat is indecently juicy, lightly seared and saturated with lashings of turmeric and cumin. If only someone managed to sneak in a couple packets of Zankou's garlic sauce, all would be right with the world. 7422 Melrose Ave., Fairfax District. (323) 944-0013.

—Garrett Snyder

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