Restaurants come and go in South Paterson, the Middle Eastern section of Paterson, and I had a terrific meal at one of them, Aleppo, named for the city in the north of Syria dominated by an old fortress. Two friends joined me for a filling lunch Tuesday before we shopped for pita bread, sardines and za'atar, the spice mixture of thyme and wild sumac. (This restaurant replaces Kafe Teria, one of my favorite Turkish places.)
We started with three appetizers: hummus, muhammara and fried kibbe (filled with ground meat and pine nuts), plus a small salad of diced cucumbers and tomatoes. We also shared an entree, the Aleppo mixed grill: chicken and lamb kabobs and ground-lamb skewers, plus rice, tomato, onion and a hot pepper. The appetizers were great, especially the kibbe, also known as torpedoes, and the poultry and meat in the entree were moist. Muhammara is a hot pepper-and-nut dip that originated in Aleppo, and this version was excellent.
After lunch, we stopped at Fattal's Bakery for pita bread, canned hummus and Moroccan sardines, and at Corrado's Family Affair supermarket for fettuccine with squid ink, ground cheeses and wine. Does any other supermarket have a bread aisle like the one at Corrado's, which carries Italian, Syrian, Turkish and other ethnic breads from two dozen or more bakeries? Our last stop was Taskin, the Turkish bakery, where I picked up two kinds of borek filled with cheese or spinach and cheese.
We couldn't find any place that served small cups of strong Turkish coffee, but noticed a new pastry shop called Sham (Damascus) that looked promising for our next visit.