Lebanese Taverna – Bethesda Restaurant Week

At the end of January, I was in the DC area for a few days and met up with my parents for dinner one night in Bethesda.  The Husband is not a huge fan of Mediterranean food and I can’t remember the last time I had some so I suggested Lebanese Taverna, an old favorite of mine.

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When we arrived, we learned that it was Bethesda’s Restaurant Week and after looking through the main menu and the prix fixe menu, I decided to go with the Restaurant Week options as did my mom.  My dad opted for a regular menu entree and we all three shared :-)

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While we waited, we enjoyed some freshly baked pita (?) bread – poofy and airy on the inside.

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For our appetizers, my mom and dad each ordered kaftas which were like meatballs.  My mom’s version (from the Restaurant Week menu in the top left of the picture) were drier and placed on top some sauce.  My dad’s version (top right) is on the regular menu and doused in a tomato-y sauce – my preferred version of the kaftas – it was delish!  I ordered the traditional hummus which was just so-so to me, but I’m certainly no expert on hummus! A cool aspect of the regular menu is that they have a design-your-own hummus option – it looked like a lot of fun.

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My dad ordered some grilled fish (perhaps salmon), fresh veggies, and a rice dish.  It was flavorful and fresh (I had a bite or two!).

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My mom ordered the Mouzat – Braised lamb shank with tomato sauce and burghul pilaf.  My dad and I each tried the lamb and it was wonderful.  It was flavorful and tender and a very large portion.

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I ordered the Fatteh Bel Bathenjan – layers of breaded fried eggplant, chickpea and toasted lebanese bread, smothered with warm yogurt, butter, and pine nuts.  In addition to the menu description, as you can see in the photo, it also had pom seeds.  Overall, I didn’t love the eggplant unfortunately, but the warm yogurt, butter, pine nuts, and pom seeds were delectable together.

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For dessert, my mom and I each ordered the Knafe – Warm sweet cheese in semolina crust drizzled with orange blossom syrup.  In the picture below, the cheese is on the left and the sesame seed looking balls were hollow.  We didn’t realize at first that we were supposed to put bites of the cheese inside the dough balls.  I think not knowing how to eat it negatively affected the dessert as we weren’t big fans.  However, that’s what Restaurant Week is for – to try new dishes for cheaper than if you ordered from the regular menu.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t end up liking any of my individual dishes, but that can happen when you reach outside your box at an ethnic restaurant.  I enjoyed all of my parents’ dishes though so I can’t complain :-) Our server was friendly and informative so overall, we had an enjoyable family dinner.



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