Lebanese Taverna

Written by on May 12, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(lebanesetaverna.com) – Northwest neighborhood, Washington, DC

How I heard of this place: I first learned of Lebanese Taverna, on a visit to Maryland to visit a friend for lunch. Since then, I have seen it now and again in the greater DC area.

Type of cuisine: A taste of Lebanon, with traditional Meze, kabobs, fresh-baked pita bread and more from the tasty Mediterranean.

Tabouli

Ambiance: “Located directly across the street from the Woodley Park Metro Station,. The high domed ceilings, lush upholstery, and hand carved walnut accents were carefully chosen for comfort and authenticity. The Café is open for al fresco dining and watching the street scene. A private room seating up to 65 people is great for receptions, rehearsal dinners and corporate functions.”

What I ordered: On my first visit to any new dining establishment, with an extensive menu, I want to sample as much as possible. The Traditional Meze ($13.50) was my way to do just that.

Meze

As we walked through the outdoor patio, along Connecticut Avenue, I noticed one diner with a large, square-shaped plate, enjoying little portions of a variety of dishes, and asked the server behind me what it was. Upon being seated, that is exactly what I wanted. Three of us started with the Pomade ($4 each), a pomegranite-lemonade, and Chris selected the Mango Lassi ($4), as he was in the mood for a yogurt-based drink. Our server first presented us with fresh-baked pita, enough for one each, and zaatar-infused olive oil for dipping. After a noticeable wait, we received our dinner entrees. Chris: Mashawi Mixed ($22) with lamb, chicken and kafta served alongside rice and a Middle Eastern salad of tomato, cucumber and onion in a lemon vinaigrette.

Mixed Meat Plate

Shirin: Back to her vegetarian staple, selected the Fatteh Eggplant ($17), a traditional yogurt dish with chickpeas, toasted pita, pine nuts, yogurt sauce, garlic, and pomegranate seeds.

Fatteh Eggplant

Eamon & Melody shared the following: Arayis ($8.50) – flatbread topped off with ground beef and lamb, tahini, and grilled tomatoes, Manak B’Jibne ($7.50) – mozzarella and feta cheeses, four olives for decoration, with the addition of zaatar (mixed herbs including thyme, marjoram, sumac, sesame seeds, olive oil),

Arayis

Fattoush ($7), also known as the “peasant salad“, prepared with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, radish, mint, parsley, toasted pita chips, tossed in a pomegranate & sumac dressing. To top it all off – you can tell they’ve done this before – the Daroogar siblings also added a bowl of whipped garlic ($4), creamy and smooth. Our dining companion who arrived later, enjoyed a bowl of Traditional Hommos ($6) and a side of meat ($2) with the fresh pita bread. To end our meals, we shared one Knafe Bel Jibne ($13), a warm cheese tart with a golden semolina crust, sweet cheese, sesame seed biscuit, topped with sweet honey glaze and pistachio dustings and three cups of Arabic Tea with steeped with fresh mint ($4 each).

Knaffee

What I loved: Of the three dishes I sampled, the Fatteh was stunning! The eggplant melt-in-your-mouth soft and the yogurt dressing delicious. I truly enjoyed the rice/salad combo with the ground meat kabob from my husband’s plate, for abundance of flavor and delicate texture. From my own meze, of Kibbeh Stuffed (and fried) Meatballs (ground beef and lamb, burghul, almonds, pine nuts, yogurt), Sambousik fried Meat Pies (ground beef and lamb, onions, almonds and pine nuts), Sujok Spicy Sausage (beef and lamb, garlic, tomato sauce), Tabouleh (parsley salad, burghul, tomatoes, onions, mint, olive oil, lemon juice), Falafel (bean fritters made of chick peas, favas, radish, scallion, tahini sauce), Baba Ghannouge (an eggplant dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, pomegranate seeds), M`Saka (oven-roasted eggplant, chickpeas, tomatoes,onions, garlic), Lebneh (a yogurt dip of strained yogurt and olive oil), Grape Leaves (stuffed with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, mint, parsley), and a dollop of traditional hommos, I loved the tabouleh and the M’Saka most, followed by the falafel floating in tahini with grated radish.

Meze Ball

Why I loved it: The space is large and open, the dim lighting romantic despite the abundance of crowds, the fresh pita warm and light, the decor simple with a modern Middle Eastern vibe.

Cost: Average ($16.50-$26 per main entree)

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