Monday, November 4, 2013

Lebanese Taverna Cafe Food Review

Falafel Sandwich Platter with House Potatoes

I take Lebanese food very seriously: My best friend (who happens to be from Lebanon) is a great chef, and spoiled me for years when we lived next door to each other. Unfortunately, my current neighbors don't cook anything (that I know of, anyhow) so I need to visit places like Lebanese Taverna Cafe for my Mediterranean fix. One of four cafes (in addition to six restaurants) in the DC-MD-VA area, the Silver Spring location is surprisingly beautiful, with great bread, good hummus and a few holes elsewhere.

I stopped in for dinner on a Monday night, just after 6:30. After a short wait, I took my turn at the counter and ordered a Kafta Sandwich with rice, and an appetizer of Spicy Hommos and bread (made in-house.) Although friendly and polite, the cashier told me I would need to wait 15 minutes for either kafta (grilled ground beef & lamb with hommos, radish & onion) or rice. 15 minutes? How can you be out of not one, but two staple items at dinner time? To my chagrin, I changed my order to a Falafel sandwich with house potatoes for $8.50. Luckily, they had plenty of hummus... which was ready, a few minutes after I sat down in their comfortable & modern dining area.

Spicy Hommos

I know good hummus, and most places don't make it. The hummus here is very good, beautifully colored and fresh. At $4.95, it's also fairly priced; when you add in two fresh pita loaves, which are almost divine in taste. Seriously, this bread is really, really good. You simply have to order it with hummus or Baba Ghannouge. It's also pretty filling... which is a good thing, considering the quality of the entrees.

Amazing bread

knew something would go wrong, when pressed to pick a substitute dish; but falafel is pretty hard to mess up. Sadly, the potatoes were ice cold (save for one lone holdout, which was oddly warm.) It's bad enough you don't have enough rice on hand; but cold potatoes? For shame. They were tender; but not well seasoned... some way overcooked, and all soaked in olive oil. My house salad looked old and sad; and had less veggies than my sandwich. Speaking of, thick tomato slices are a no-no (thinner please) and three small falafel balls? I got more crunch from all those radishes. Too bad, since the falafel had lots of flavor. Also of note: My sandwich was very dry, with little to no tahini sauce.

On the plus side, they offer authentic Vimtos and the aforementioned 4-star bread/hummus; with as nice an interior, as you'll likely find in Silver Spring. Unfortunately, all that good gets forgotten by the main course. Almost $17 (not including tip) deserves more than a good appetizer and atmosphere.