You can take a mini vacation to almost any region of the world, all within the boundaries of Chicago. Chinatown, Devon Ave (Indian), Argyle Street (Vietnamese), Little Italy, Greek Town … we have it all. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to stumble upon a street lined with a number of middle-eastern restaurants, markets, and bakeries right by the Kedzie Brown Line stop.
And after living in Chicago for 6 years, I also shouldn’t have been surprised to see the EL (elevated) train running at street level. While quite a few of the EL stops are underground, and most are above ground, very few EL stops actually run through the streets.
Mike and I had headed to the area with the intent of trying out Prince Creperie, which I have been wanting to try for months. The creperie was closed, but thankfully there was no shortage of delicious options. I was so excited to see Noon-O-Kabob and Semiramis restaurants along the same street – restaurants that I have heard so much praise for, though I never knew where they were located. On a whim, we chose to try Semiramis first, though I know we’ll be back to try the other restaurants along the street!
I loved the decor of the restaurant. It was so simple and elegant, with lovely tapestries and lamps giving it a middle-eastern flair. It felt perfect for any occasion – a dinner with family or friends, or even a date. And it’s BYOB, too!
While the menu has far more items catering to omnivores, as a vegetarian I still needed a few minutes to choose between all the wonderful Lebanese classics: Hummus, Tabbouleh, Falafel, Fattoush, Dolmas, Baba Ghannouj, Fava Beans, Lentils…
I settled on the vegetarian sampler platter so I could try a bit of everything – Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Tabbouleh and Dolmas. The standard platter also comes with Falafel, but I was craving something lighter. I asked if I could substitute the Falafel for the Fattoush salad and it was no trouble at all.
And I was so glad that I made the substitution, because the Fattoush was one of the standouts of the platter. The salad (pictured above: upper left) was so refreshing, tart, and tangy. Cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, radishes, and toasted pita bits were tossed in a lemon & olive oil dressing spiced with sumac, a lemony spice popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
The Tabbouleh, Hummus, and Baba Ghanouj were all good too, but the dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) were simply FANTASTIC. I honestly think these were the best dolmas I have ever had. They weren’t as acidic tasting as many I have had before. These were comforting, with a filling of fluffy rice and savory tomato.
Although the night didn’t go as planned, it was a perfect evening, full of delicious, authentic food that Mike and I both enjoyed tremendously.
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever stumbled upon a fantastic foodie-find?
What’s your favorite Middle-Eastern food?