When people think of the Middle East, mezze is most likely what comes to everyone’s mind first. It’s all about the hummus, the tabbouleh, the baba ghanoush, and the mixed grill. While the menu was the same as the states, there was a vast difference in a few key areas.
|Baba ghanoush, with a basket of pita|
1. The bread
Pita here is better, hands down. Like a cheese steak isn’t the same outside Philly or a bagel is too chewy outside NYC. The best pita I tried here was made fresh—and has inspired me to look up my own recipes once I’m home. I don’t think I can eat the store bought stuff anymore—it’s too thick and bready.
|Fatoosh and rosemary grilled mushrooms|
2. The Freshness
I fell in love with baba ghanoush back in the summer during my Vegetarian month, but it wasn’t until I arrived in Jordan that I saw how much better the eggplant dish could be. I call it more like a Middle Eastern Salsa: there is the smokey eggplant and tahini, but here they add in tomatoes, onions, and parsley to create a really refreshing dip.
It’s that freshness that kept repeating itself on the trip: all the salads tasted like they had just gone outside to pick the veggies themselves. The cucumbers are smaller here, and hold more flavor. The pickles are all made in-house. The list goes on…
3. The hummus is divine
There’s not much else to say about it that isn’t expressed in the picture above. Light, fresh, awesome.
|Mixed Grill, done right|
4.The marinade on the meat
The chicken is marinated in yogurt, the steak has a nice char on it…there’s not much to find fault with–only perhaps that the lamb isn’t as good here as the other meats. Not sure why, I suppose I just don’t like how the prepare it (it’s ground and formed into patties).
How awesome is that mixed grill above? That was from my last dinner here at Levant around 3rd Circle. Gourmet Arab food, with fancy waiters and all. It was exceptional.