We met up as a group of 8, including a kiddo, in the Pearl district before a show on a Friday night. It was looking impossible to get a table, and then Zaatar to the rescue. I have eaten here before, and am surprised that this place is still so empty on a Friday. We ordered 4 platters, which was plenty of food for the group, especially with the complimentary pita coming out every time we finished it. We could have finished one more dish, but were satisfied without it.
Zaatar Combination Platter – lamb, chicken, and beef kabob (I think one is missing in this photo) with basmati rice
Mujadara with feta-sprinkled eggplant
Awful photo, but this is 1/2 of the “Vegetarian Taste of Lebanon” – here is the hummus, baba ghannouj, and tabouli
The other 1/2 of the Vegetarian Taste of Lebanon – grape leaves, cauliflower, and falafel
Not pictured: Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, the simple green salads that came with each plate
I have eaten here before and had a similar experience this time of really enjoying my meal. The meats are cooked nicely, everything is so vibrantly seasoned and flavorful. If I came with a group of 8 again, I would sub something else in for the cabbage rolls, which were okay but nothing earth-shattering. My favorite thing on the table was the eggplant that came on the side of the mujadara.
I don’t know why this place isn’t more crowded, especially on a weekend. The service was fantastic and the ambiance was welcoming. I wonder if having MEC two blocks away is difficult for this business. Most folks looking for middle eastern food in a fancy neighborhood probably are drawn to the more upscale feel of MEC. I am bias to MEC overall, but in terms of a real authentic Lebanese meal – this is your place.
One more note: We loved the Lebanese wine we had there. They have 2 on the menu and I can’t remember which of the two we decided on – possibly the Ksara? They were nice enough to let us try both before we decided.
Oh, one more note: The turkish coffee does not have cardamom in it!!! (for me, this means I don’t need to bother with it)