The second reason this post will be somewhat lacking is that I usually use my iphone to record notes using the voice memo functionality. Well, sadly later that evening I was playing Bejeweled 2 (the best $3 I've ever spent in my life!) while answering nature's call when I accidentally dropped my phone in the crapper. Yes, I fished it out, and no, I wasn't able to save it. Since I hadn't backed up my phone yet, all of those voice memos were gone. Not to mention I had to shell out $200 for a new phone since neither Apple nor Best Buy covers damage caused by water submergence. Bastards.
So this post will be more of a straight up food porn post then a detailed review. I will most certainly be dining at Lebanese Taverna again because almost everything I tried was insanely good. I'm just going to do a run-down of what I did like and what I thought missed the mark.
First off I love grape leaves so that was a no-brainer order for me. Our waiter suggested getting a side of harissa which was the decision of the night because it makes everything better. Everything. There's no doubt in my mind that if I had put it on ice cream it would've been goddamn delicious. Gasp! I said a bad word! You're damn right I did. It's my blog and I can do what I want to. Do what I want to. Cry if I want to?
Unfortunately the grape leaves were kind of disappointing. First off as soon as I picked them up they were just swimming in oil, and as much as I like typical manfood I honestly don't care for really oily/greasy/fatty fare. Call me a dandy but that's just how I roll.
The complimentary bread we got was super great as it was basically a big basket of bread footballs.
You rib these suckers in half and stuff them with all sorts of goodies. Our first round of orders included spicy hummus...
...a low-carb friendly version of tabouleh (my friends are on a diet and had friends in the kitchen)...
...and the aforementioned harissa. Rip the complimentary bread in half and everything inside like so:
Now that is delicious. The already spicy hummus gets elevated by the kick of the harissa and the creaminess is given a bit of crunch from the tablouleh. We called for another order of bread and I think I ate most of it myself. Mmmmm stuffed footballs.
A friend of mine ordered the kibbeh and this was my favorite item of the meal. I don't know why I just loved the little things.
Actually... I know exactly why. I mean ground up lamb, beef, almonds, and pine nuts which are then deep fried. What's not to love?
We also ordered a damn good cheese plate. I have no idea what types of cheeses these were but I can say that the cheese on the top reminded me of a cross between feta and goat cheese and the cheese on the bottom was one of the creamiest cheeses I've had to date.
I love me some cheese. My wife is probably going to smack me for this. She loves cheese more than I thought was humanly possible.
For our main dishes I ordered the lentil soup and the lamb tartare, and my friends ordered the mixed grill plate which featured chicken, lamb, and kafta, the lamb shank, and the shawarma which was a mix of lamb and beef if I remember correctly. Without further ado, the food porn:
The soup was good on it's own, but when combined with the house made pita chips it was great.
The lamb tartare was a bit of a palate shock to me at first, but once I got used to it it was also very good. It was like gamey meat pudding, in a good way mind you. I liked mixing my bites with the fresh mint and green onion.
I tried all of the components of the mixed grill and honestly I liked the chicken the best, you could really taste the wood grill flavor.
I was really looking forward to trying a bite of the lamb shank as it is one of my favorite foods, but I felt this was just a bit too gamey for me. The rest of the table raved about it, but honestly I didn't care for it.
I don't remember whether or not the shawarma was anything special, although I may be a tad biased on that regard because I've had some amazing shawarma from NYC street carts.
While this review may not seem stellar, I really did love this place. The space was very unexpected with the high ceilings and suave decor, and I 100% plan on bringing the wife here. While Lebanese Taverna may not have had quite the same "wow" factor as The Helmand, I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant for anyone looking for a really great upscale meal, sans the upscale pricetag. I doubly recommend this place for groups as sharing all of the small plates really added to it's charm.
The food may have just been good, but with my friends there, the experience was great.