Graduate school put a dent in our dining out. Going to school 2-3 times a week, in Hammond, often forced us to eat poorly. In addition, the expense of gas (only our last semester saw the prices drop) and time required of us to study forced us to cut out dining out from our budget and schedule. When we graduated, we wanted to try somewhere new. A friend suggested Lebanon’s Cafe on Carrollton.
Our grad school research required books that our university didn’t have. Southeastern is part of a program that allows you to check out books from other universities in Louisiana. After returning some books to Tulane, we decided to try Lebanon’s. We instantly knew that we were coming back. The first time we went there, Cristina ordered the Chicken Shawarma. She said it was some of the best Shawarma she’s ever had (and she’s right). However, I could see her coveting my Rosemary Lamb Chops. Cooked medium rare, the chops were perfectly seasoned and cooked. Meanwhile, both of us were raving about the hummus which uses the perfect amount of lemon juice. If I lived close to Lebanon, I would probably order it for pick up every day regardless of what I was eating that night.
Since I was a great husband and let Cristina try one of my chops, she ordered it the next time we went. This time we also ordered stuffed grape leaves. I opted for the lamb and hummus with sautéed onions, green beans and tomatoes. This was simply the best seasoned dish I have ever had. Nothing comes close. The next time we went, Cristina stayed the same but I order a kibby, which is cracked wehat, stuffed with seasoned ground beef, onions, and pine nuts, for an appetizer. I honestly cannot say which one was better: the grape leaves or the kibby. For the main course, I ordered the chicken shawarma/gyro combination platter. This gyro will be the gyro by which all other gyros will be judged. I don’t have the words to describe any better. Each time we got the trio dessert, which consists of baklava, lady fingers, and Burma (shredded wheat wrapped around pistachios). Perfect way to end a meal, or just to order to go and enjoy later.
We went again recently, but this time we took my mom and sister. This was their first time at a Middle Eastern restaurant. To introduce them to more than hummus, we ordered the Chef’s Special as an appetizer since it contains hummus, baba ganuj, vegetarian grape leaves, tabouleh, falafel, and labna. Before the main courses came, my sister remarked that we could take them to Lebanon’s anytime. Their main courses, chicken shawarma for my mom and chicken and hummus for my sister, made them into as big of fans of the place as us. Best part, we all had enough for a meal the next day.
Even though the food is fantastic, the prices are better. Of course, the lamb chops are the most expensive item on the menu but there are plenty of cheaper options especially the sandwiches.
For full disclosure, if I was forced to pick one ethnic food for the rest of my life, it would be Greek/Middle Eastern food. I’ve never actually had bad Middle Eastern food. Lebanon’s is the best I’ve had of this type of food.
Furthermore, I will always trust this friend’s recommendations after this.