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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beirut (Troy, NY)

While I didn't wake up from my nap well rested, I did wake up hungry. M had suggested heading over to the farmers market to help him figure out what to make for dinner. This week's selections were uninspiring for him, but I did pick up some peanut butter snacks for the dogs.

We headed over to Shalimar for the lunch buffet, but of course they were packed and I was not willing to wait for a table. We walked around the corner and I remembered Beirut. It used to be Al-Baraki, and was taken over by a former worker. If you need your Al-Baraki fix, not to worry- they still have their Albany location.

The restaurant can be found sandwiched between antique shops along River Street in downtown Troy. According to M, it looks a lot better than it did before- new flooring, and brightly painted walls. The place is tiny, but there is enough space for a handful of tables, each proudly displaying copies of articles written about Beirut in the Times Union and the Record. Beirut looks more like a take out place than a dine in restaurant, but they offer a lunch buffet during the week and will cater for events.

We split the medium sized Mezza (sampler platter) which was made up of Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, stuffed grape leaves, Makdous (oil cured eggplants stuffed with walnuts), Falafel, Tabbouli, and served with pita bread. I really liked this appetizer, with the makdous and tabbouli standing out the most. M did not agree, saying that he thought the hummus and baba ghannouj tasted as if they were thawed out. He did like the falafel, and the pickled turnip that garnished it.

I also ordered a small Shish Kabab (Kafta) wrap, which the menu describes as "beef patties prepared with onion, parsley and a special blend of Lebanese seasoning." The beef was a little on the dry side, and the taste reminded me of sausage (it could just be the seasoning). The garlic sauce that was generously spread on the wrap was a little strong, which would be a good thing if I was feeling congested. I overheard a conversation the owner's dad was having with a customer and found out that he uses the same recipe for the garlic sauce as Al-Baraki.

When we were done with our meal, the owner's dad brought us over a piece of Sfouf, anise flavored yellow cake. The cake was a little dry, but I liked the subtle anise flavor. M wasn't impressed with it, but I chalk up his responses as being biased for Bada West.

I liked their tabbouli so much that before we left I got a large order to go. It was only after I finished eating it at work that night, that I realized that their version did not contain any bulgur. Without it, can it still be considered tabbouli? I've always known it to have bulgur, along with the standard parsley/mint, tomato, cucumber, olive oil and lemon. I've had versions that were heavy on the wheat, or just enough to notice. But no bulgur at all?

According to this recipe on Epicurious, traditional Lebanese tabbouli uses very little bulgur. So it should not be surprising to find none in the Beirut version.

Lunch for two came out to $31.00, including tax.

184 River Street
Troy, NY, 12180
(518) 270-9404


Matt said...

i'm not gonna lie, that big picture on the bottom isn't very appealing to me. you should stick to eating at montvale lanes :P

Lilimonster said...

It did look better when I ordered it. I think I took that picture at three in the morning.

It may not look that great, it sure did taste wonderful. And it's a good alternative to the fried foods.

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