A nondescript shopping strip deep in the heart of Fullerton seems an unlikely spot to encounter schwarmas and belly dancers, but Amer's is an oasis of brick-oven-baked goodies amid the chain restaurants of upper Belair Road. The menu promises "American-Mediterranean-Egyptian cuisine" and delivers with a variety of pizzas, kebabs, pastas, and salads.
A small vegetarian Dahb pizza ($6.95) was more than enough 'za for one, but the zippy toppings--marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, garlic, hot peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes--were overshadowed by the oddly crisp, tough crust. The brick oven was put to better use for the excellent puffy pita bread that accompanied a Middle Eastern combo platter ($8.95) featuring solid renditions of the usual subjects (falafel with tahini sauce, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, foul) along with an unusually good baba ganouj. A pita sandwich of sautéed shrimp in curry sauce with walnuts, red onions, and mango chutney ($7.95) sounded intriguing but turned up dry and flavorless. The rice pudding ($2) is forgettable.
All this sounds less than great, but Amer's is an earnest, friendly place that makes you want to like them even if the pizza dough is overdone. The prompt, conscientious servers encourage BYOB, keeping your beverages chilled and providing appropriate glassware. It's family-friendly, offering a free kid-sized pizza with every two adult entrées. And Amer's throws in a shimmying belly dancer with dinner every Friday night.