TRAVEL HERE: AL AMIR LEBANESE RESTAURANT IN ADDISON
I didn’t have on my happy face. My mom wasn’t doing well, so I wasn’t either. Then hubby took me out for dinner.
First, on my list of choices would have been some patio margarita time, but let’s face it, one hundred plus temperatures make patios miserable, even if there are misting fans.
I dug through my coupons and found one to Al-Amir Lebanese Restaurant. It had been on our short list for awhile, so it seemed like the time to go had come. We arrived around eight o’clock on a Friday night and the place was almost empty. I had a serious case of uh-oh, but we were there, so we took our chances. Rule number one: Don’t get in too big of a hurry to get there.
Rule number two: Don’t sit in the non- smoking area. The restaurant as a whole was sparsely populated when we arrived, but the non-smoking section was an arid wasteland. Besides, a quick look around told us we weren’t talking cigarette smoke. The folks in the smoking section were enjoying hookahs.
The hostess was happy to lead us to another table and gave us menus. The waiter arrived promptly and suggested I try a Lebanese wine. I almost ordered it out of curiosity, but decided to ask questions instead. I found out the Lebanese wine was rose’ and opted for a Sauvignon Blanc.
I’d barely begun to read the menu when Bill announced he was going for the beef kafta kabob. Now kafta, whether you call it koofta, kefta, kufta or kafta is one of my favorite Middle Eastern dishes. I could have gone ahead and ordered the same thing, but I hate to be redundant, so I kept looking. I almost gave up finding an alternate dish when way down, almost at the bottom of the right side of the menu, I saw a Vegetarian Plate. Now I’m not a vegetarian, but I love me some vegetables, so I was a happy camper.
As we waited for our food, I looked around at the decor. Sometime in my past, like in the late eighties or the early nineties, this was a happening watering hole. I kept trying to remember what it was called, way back then when all my shoes were dancing shoes, but I never figured it out. Maybe you can remind me. Whatever it was, many remnants remain, like the gorgeous wooden bar and the dance floor with it’s dj booth. The Middle Eastern theme is a thin veneer over whatever it is that the restaurant used to be. (A prize to whoever remembers!)
Had I been converting the restaurant, I would have taken the re-do a few steps further. The ski-lodge-like skylights, in the corners of the room seriously detract from the Middle Eastern vibe – but that’s me. They do have a patio, but no one was out there. I may not dig the ski lodge skylights, but do love their art. They have these wonderful paintings, probably acrylic, of just female eyes. Deep, wide, gorgeous eyes peek between scarves and actual beading enhances the scarves. Very lovely.
Then the food came. OMG!! I was so was glad Bill got the kebob. Otherwise, I might have missed the tender cauliflower, lightly dusted on top with breading and then deep fried. Melt in your mouth eggplant seasoned to the perfect kick. Golden brown potato cubes, crunchy on the outside, soft all the way through. Even their rice was extraordinary. There were some pickled this-and-thats I didn’t eat, but I was full!
Things were very quiet at our table while we ate, which meant Bill’s food was delicious, also. I did see him tucking into a broiled tomato that looked to die for. After the meal we peeked at our coupon and realized we needed to spend more money to take advantage of it, so we got dessert and a hookah. No, I didn’t hookah – that’s Bill’s thing.
The dessert was OK. I can’t eat all those Middle Eastern desserts. They are way too sweet. One bite of baklava and my teeth hurt. So we opted for cheese cake. It was good cheesecake, not spectacular or extraordinary, but nothing wrong with it either. As I nibbled around on it, Bill enjoyed his hookah.
The Belly Dancing
Rule number three: Linger. As we enjoyed our special endings to the meal, we looked around and the restaurant was crowded. The background music went up several notches and a belly dancer came out to entertain us. The audience was riveted. Little girls came up to give it a try, as well as twenty-somethings – and the guys? Well, for a little while each of them fell momentarily in love.
Shortly thereafter it was time to go home. I’d been lucky. The phone hadn’t rung and after a hard week, I was wrung out. Should you go to Al-Amir? Absolutely! But don’t forget the rules!