Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Emily’s Lebanese Food – Minneapolis, MN

I got recommendations for this place from a girl at work. She said if I liked Kristos, I would like Emily’s a lot. This should have been my first clue – Kristos is Greek, Emily’s is Lebanese (not Lesbanese like Coach was hoping). Lebanon is southeast of Greece, just in case you’re wondering. They use some of the same ingredients, but the flavors are different.

So I’ll state for the record, I’m not a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine. That being said, I’ll give Emily’s a fair shake.

Gerd and I did some research on Lebanese food so we’d have some idea what to order when we arrived. Fortunately, due to our investigation, the items looked familiar. And honestly, the descriptions looked really appetizing. There are a bunch of smaller things on the menu that you can mix and match and then there are some entrees. A couple of salads and appetizers round off the menu. It’s more comprehensive than I would have imagined.

I originally wanted to do the mix and match thing, but everything I planned to get was included on the combination dinner #2, plus I got Tabouli and bread. Gerd got a combination (#1) which was just a smaller version of my dinner. She also got hummus and a salad (instead of tabouli).

Gerd and I aren’t fans of tabouli, but I wanted to try it there. Rumor is, if it doesn’t taste like dirt, then it’s good tabouli. This must have been good tabouli, since there was no dirt flavor, but the whole thing would have been better with strips of bacon and deep fried. It was good as tabouli goes, but it’s not a personal favorite. Gerd loved her salad. She’s a fan of the dressing which had a sort of “creamy tang” (which I giggle when I hear her say that). The hummus was really good as far a hummus goes. Gerd said there was some kick to it, but vanilla yogurt is too spicy for her. There was no spice. It was good anyway.

The meals came out and looked delicious. They came with stuffed grape leaves, cabbage wraps, and kibbi, which I refer to as meat brownies. Mine also came with a stuffed zucchini and a meat pie (also makes me giggle), which I referred to as a Lebanese hot pocket. The grape leaves are stuffed with ground lamb, rice, pine nuts, and cinnamon. The cabbage wraps were stuffed with rice, cinnamon, ground lamb, and pine nuts, and the zucchini was stuffed with, (you guessed it) pine nuts, ground lamb, cinnamon, and rice. So yes, these all sort of tasted the same, but had a different wrapper. The other things I really liked. The meat brownie (kibbi) was really good. It was kind of a lamb meatloaf brick with pine nuts, and cinnamon, and no rice. They were really good. Maybe they weren’t seasoned the exact same way, so they ended up being good. The Lebanese hot pocket (meat pie) was the best thing on the plate. Light flakey crust, and just take a guess at what was inside.

We brought home a LOT of food since the portions were enormous. Seriously large. So in my eyes, the place is good if you like Middle Eastern food. However, if you don’t, then don’t venture south of Greece. Some things were good though, so I’m sure the food is delicious. It’s just not my thing. However, I’m a big enough person to say the place is good.

Top 5 things about Emily’s
1. Salad dressing (homemade and sell it to go)
2. Enormous portions
3. Hummus
4. Lebanese Hot Pocket
5. Cute local deli/restaurant

Bottom 5 things
1. Same ingredients, different wrapper
2. I don’t think they have restrooms
3. Gerd assumes they won’t sing to you on your birthday
4. The berps afterwards don’t taste good
5. We had to look up where Lebanon was… I admit it

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