Sunday, December 27, 2009

For great maza, you don't have to go far

BeirutImage via Wikipedia

The New York Times has a nicely photographed, mouth-watering story about restaurants in Beirut, Lebanon (photo), but you have to go no further than Paterson to sample equally delicious maza and other food.

Aleppo Restaurant at Main and Thomas streets, Paterson, is a reliable choice for Syrian entrees and the small plates called maza or mezze, as The Times spells it. And there are Turkish restaurants, such as Hummus, across Main Street, with attractive menus of salads, meat-and-cheese pizzas, and other tidbits. After you try these two restaurants, I think you'll agree the author of The Times piece is wrong in saying the best Middle Eastern food is found in Lebanese restaurants.

Lebanese restaurants seem to come and go in the South Paterson neighborhood, but a sign on the old Al Assayad Restaurant on Crooks Avenue recently announced the opening soon of a Lebanese place.

Two great meals I had at Aleppo Restaurant are described in the following links:

The zing of Aleppo red pepper

Bountiful meal recalls my roots

 Below is a link to the story on Beirut.
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  1. I am so sick and tired of hearing comments like the best Middle Eastern food coming from Lebanon and Middle Eastern cuisines that originate from Syrian being referred to as Lebanese. The irony in this is that I only read this type of idiotic statements in Western media. If you talk to any Middle Easterner, they will insist that Syrian cuisine is in fact the most well known and celebrated as well as Syria being the origin of these dishes. Sorry Victor, I had to vent a little.

  2. I have to comment again, it seems like that Times writer doesn't realize that he went to a Turkish restaurant in Beirut.

  3. No problem. I agree that many writers, such as this Times guy, know little about their subjects. They are in such a rush to crown one country the best in terms of Middle Eastern cuisine and to crown themselves as experts, they just ignore logic and history.

  4. I think you are right. You are referring to Istambouli (Istanbul)? Also, one of the photos in the slide show looks like a pile of arayesh (the bread filled with ground meat and baked in the oven), but it is described only as bread.

  5. I just looked at the photo in the slide show again. It's labeled "hummus and bread" but, of course, it shows a lot more than just plain bread.

  6. Yes Victor, I see that picture, that is obviously arayes and not just plain bread. To be honest, your pictures from Aleppo Restaurant look a lot more appetizing than the pictures of the food in Beirut.

  7. Yes, that meal at Aleppo Restaurant was memorable.


Please try to stay on topic.