Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beirut Restaurant and Deli – West St. Paul, MN

Beirut is right down the street from D.Rough and my place (not the actual City of Beirut, but the Lebanese restaurant named after the city). We drive by it all the time and keep meaning to check it out. Tonight, we made it our mission to discover what sorts of things they have there.

The inside is well-let and there’s a small stage in the dining room, presumably where the belly dancers they have some evenings perform. We were seated immediately since there were only a few tables being used, and given menus to look at. They have a full bar, so we started with the drink portion of the menu. They honestly have a pretty interesting cocktail menu, so I ended up getting something ridiculously girly (something with chocolate liquor and that tasted like the most delicious candy in the world) and D.Rough got something more tame – a mojito.

The menu has a lot of things we recognize from our other culinary excursions. Kebabs, stuffed grape leaves, tabouli, etc. But we kept coming back to the Mezza combination. This is a traditional meal setting in Lebanon, according to the menu. It’s basically a little of everything. And for the price, you get to try almost everything on the menu for a ridiculously cheap price. If both people got an appetizer and an entrée, it would be the same amount as the Mezza. And there’s a TON more food. So if you’re hungry or can eat a lot, go Mezza.

They start by bringing a LARGE selection of appetizers: Hummus bi-tahini, tabouli, cabage rolls, falafel, kibbee (baked or raw), baba ghannooj, stuffed grape leaves, shawirma, and an olive plate. Yes, ALL of these things. I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s worth the money. They also keep bringing out delicious Lebanese bread (like pita bread), so you’ll be eating a lot of that, just a warning.

We devoured all of everything they brought. Our most favorite was probably the hummus, which was sooooo much better than store-bought stuff, although we did have some squabbles over the shawirma, falafel, cabbage rolls, grape leaves, and Kibbee. The only thing we weren’t fighting over was the baba ghannooj. It didn’t stop us from eating it all, but it just wasn’t our favorite.

Then they bring out your choice of two kabobs for each person. We got a chicken Shish ta-ook, and the lamb lahem mishwe. The chicken we thought was going to be simple and sort of plain, but it’s the best chicken skewer I can remember eating. Such good flavor in this thing. The mishwe is sort of ground up meat molded and cooked on a skewer. The meat they used was really good quality and was very tender and flavorful.

Now that we found out how awesome this place is, it’s going to be very difficult not to come back here when we need our Lebanese fix. The food really is top notch and very affordable. The people are really nice and they have awesome cocktails. Oh, and the belly dancers – which we didn’t get to see yet. Soon!!!!

Top 5 things about Beirut Restaurant and Deli
1. Hummus bi-tahini
2. Stuffed grape leaves
3. Cocktail menu
4. Shawirma
5. Cabbage rolls

Bottom 5 things
1. We were on the wrong night to see the belly dancers – totally our fault though
2. Not sure where the deli part comes in, though they do sell jars of sauce and spices and such
3. Nothing else is going to make the bottom 5 list

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And they have The. Best. Garlic. Sauce.

I like the baba ghanouj there -- it has a smoky taste and I like smoked almost-anything. But I can see where that might not be everyone's favorite.

Oh, and the bookshelf and refrigerated case by the door? That's the deli (!).

Glad you finally stopped in -- Beirut (the restaurant) could use a little more love.