Café Beirut Featured on BostonGlobe.com
Lebanese specialties earn A’s for authentic
Moujadara is a Lebanese specialty of lentils with rice. It’s a dish made so many different ways in its country of origin that you can imagine old women in villages discussing how they cook theirs. At Cafe Beirut in Jamaica Plain, the grains simmer with onions, and when it comes to the table, the dish is topped with more caramelized onions and served with a cucumber-yogurt “salad” (really a sauce). This complex moujadara ($5.99 and $7.99) probably has half a dozen ingredients and it manages to taste complex and interesting. It’s just one side dish on an extensive Lebanese menu here.
The 20-seat Cafe Beirut, formerly Sami’s Falafel, is under new management. It’s still owned by Sami Saba, son of Ghazi Saba, who started the Sami’s truck in the Longwood Medical Area in 1979. Now Sami Saba has a new business partner and chef, Ali Hachem. Hachem, who worked at many upscale spots in Lebanon, is turning out authentic dishes that have a cooked-all-day quality but come out of the kitchen swiftly. Something about this food seems like it was made by village women. That such thoughtful slow cooking can come so well prepared and so fast makes me forgive the paper plates and napkin dispenser.
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