Sunday night, my mom, sister, and niece headed out for a girl’s dinner at Al-Wadi.
A newly opened Lebanese restaurant in Dedham.
As a Lebanese girl, I’m pretty picky when it comes to Lebanese food considering my mother’s, Thea-Thea’s (grandmother’s) and Aunties to be VERY high bar; but Al-Wadi was hands-down the BEST Lebanese food I’ve had in a restaurant (and even better than some home-made, shhhhh, don’t tell).
I had a Diet Coke with a lime to start; but my sister and I ended up sharing a glass of Lebanese red wine that was luscious.
- An olive oil/spice dip (called zaa’tar)
- Kalamata and Green olives
- Labne: a thick strained yogurt; much like Greek yogurt
The olives were my favorite, of course.
The menu was filled with foods of my childhood; as made by my mother, Thea-Thea and Aunties. Wanting to try most things, my mother and I decided to share the Prix Fixe for two:
Let our chef take you on a dining journey. Start with classic selections from our mezza menu. Fattoush, hommus, baba ghanouj, warak enab, and falafel, followed by selections
from the grille which includes chicken shish taouk, lamb kebab and kafta kebab
accompanied by handcut fries or rice.
The first course arrived in just a few minutes; and we were blown away with the portions; this could have easily fed four; not two!
- Pickled Turnips and Radishes (Middle Eastern pickles)
- Baba Ghanoush
- THE BEST Falafel with a Tahini sauce
- Vegetarian grapeleaf
- Fattoush (a Middle Eastern salad made with Syrian bread croutons)
SO good. I loved the pickles; they were perfectly sour and crunchy. The hummus was really smooth and rich; and the eggplant was deliciously smokey. I’m usually not a huge fan of falafel; but this was divine; the filling was moist and grainy; and the outside was crispy. Delightful. The grapeleaf was served cold, and as you know, I prefer mine warm and I loved the Fattoush salad; nicely dressed and spiced.
I would have been perfectly happy to call this dinner; in fact, this is how many traditional Lebanese meals are; many small plates called meze; eaten leisurely. However, there was more deliciousness in store.
My sister and neice shared a a side of Hushwee: Slow cooked ground meat and rice topped with pine nuts and almond.
This is one of my favorite dishes that my mother makes; in fact many Lebanese families call this “Stuffing” as its used in grapeleaves, stuffed squash or stuffed cabbage. On Thursday, I’m sure MANY Lebanese families will be stuffing a turkey with this; or at least serving it on the side.
And finally, an order of Sambossik (unpictured): Homemade dough stretched and overstuffed with ground meat, onions, pine nuts and spices.
And just when we thought no more food could fit on our table; the Prix Fixe’s SECOND course arrived.
Lamb Kebab: Charbroiled marinated lamb.
Chicken Shish Taouk: Marinated chicken breast, grilled.
Kafta Kebab: Seasoned ground lamb, with onion, parsley and mint.
Boase bread (a spiced thick Syrian bread, much like a naan bread).
Served over rice pilaf with garlic butter for dipping.
I was getting pretty full at this point so I had a bite of each of the meats; and a big scoop of rice. Rice pilaf is one of my all time favorite dishes.The meats were perfectly tender and the garlic butter was ADDICTIVE; so so good.
We were full and cozy as we waited for the bill (and our tons of leftovers to be packed up). The bill was presented in this little Fez.
Al-Wadi was a delicious, authentic Lebanese experience; do not miss it.