I attended a work dinner at Aladdin’s Casbah. The night we visited, there was a belly dancer and later in evening, a DJ. I overheard Tread Lightly request Shakira. I didn’t know he was a fan. In his honour, let’s listen to Hips don’t lie.
I tried a glass of Lebanese wine. I thought it smelled and tasted distinctly different from my usual rotation of wines – as it was more earthy with a tart finish.
We started off with several appetizers – Oriental salad, tabouli, fatouch, cold sesame chicken, hommos, baba ghanouj, vine leaves, pickled vegetables, pita bread, and spinach and meat pies. What a spread! I thought all the appetizers were dinner. My favourite was the baba ghanouj (eggplant dip). I could actually discern the eggplant in it, which was rich in texture and smokey in flavour.
The salads were vibrant and tangy from lemon juice and herbs. The lettuce was crisp and refreshing. After the appetizers were cleared away, we snacked on a spinach and a meat pie.
Each table had a hookah. There are several flavours to choose from. In between courses, we’d inhale a puff of lemon mint.
Before our main course, we were treated to a belly dancing performance. I patiently let L watch for 15 seconds before I told him that was enough entertainment for one night. He grinned at me and nodded.
The highlight of the meal was the skewers. Options include lamb, ground beef, beef tenderloin, chicken, quail and jumbo shrimp. Aladdin’s uses a wood charcoal grill. You can taste the difference it makes in the meats and tomatoes. The chicken was juicy. The beef tenderloin was charred on the outside. The beef was well marbled, rendering it tender and moist.
Our platter also contained lamb and a ground beef skewer, but I was too full to try it. Ayecaramba never got to try the lamb because Rascal ate the whole skewer. Sharing is caring dude.
The fries were cut wide and flat. Fluffy on the inside and sumptuously crunchy on the outside. The creamy dipping sauce was pungent with mashed garlic. The rice was tangled with pickled onions and fresh dill, infused with the juices from the skewers and roasted tomatoes.
For dessert, we sipped on coffee and munched on baklava. I’m use to baklava that tastes like a soggy, sweet mess. Aladdin’s version crackled and crumbled as I bit into it. I could actually taste the pistachios and I didn’t find the pastry too sweet.
Tread Lightly’s friend Angel told me that Aladdin’s makes the best Lebanese food in the city. I concur. L and I plan on taking L’s parents to feast on Aladdin’s Delight – a spread of eight appetizers, two types of kebobs, dessert, and coffee ($39.99 per person). Just a warning – the DJ’s music can get loud. If you prefer a quieter dinner, visit on a weekday.