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Entries in Middle Eastern (13)


The Fez in Stamford Re-Opens w/ Expanded Bar, Menu & Music Space

New York chic meets laid back cool at The Fez, a Middle Eastern eatery located in Stamford.  The restaurant, located on Summer Street, is unobtrusive from the outside.  The inside, however, is alive!  Wine flows and aromatic Mediterranean cuisine comes out of the kitchen.  Patrons flock to hear live music and conversation echoes throughout the intimate space.

On June 1, 2015, the Fez shut its doors to undergo a renovation.  After a few busy months, they are proud to announce their grand reopening.  Lunch and dinner service has resumed, as well as live music. 

The same team behind the original Fez will see it into its new age.  Greenwich native Eric Monte, who has a self-professed “love of food and wine,” partnered with Jay Patel, who comes from a family of restaurateurs.  Chef Shelby prepares the delicious cuisine.  Originally Monte had hired a French chef, but Chef Shelby and his Indian background wound up being the perfect match for the restaurant.  Fred Laist manages the business aspect.  He has a rich history in corporate catering and Monte calls him “brilliant in food service.”

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Kibberia Restaurant Brings Middle Eastern Cuisine to Westport 

In September, Westport welcomed KIBBERIA Restaurant and Cafe to the Post Road serving traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. Kibbe, a Levantine dish made of bulgur, minced onions and ground beef, is a staple in many Middle Eastern kitchens, and  KIBBERIA serves KIBBE and an enormous variety of other Middle Eastern dishes, always fresh, always home-made (except for the Pita Bread)  and very tasty! You have to excuse the packaging and get right down to the food… Cafeteria style with paper bowls for soup does not scream “GOURMET” by any means. But the food is the thing...and KIBBERIA does not disappoint.

Westport is KIBBERIA’s second location (the other has been a huge success in Danbury since 2011) owned by Lebanese-born Nick Iskander and co-owner and head chef Carole Iskander. She is cooking for a packed, Westport crowd every day but Sunday. From moms with kids to business people out for a healthy, quick lunch to vegans to carnivores KIBBERIA provides a healthy, hearty, Middle Eastern meal that suits any palate.

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CTbites Invites Recap: Passover Cooking w/ Tabouli Grill

With the snow piled so high in front on the Post Road, it could have been easy to miss Tabouli Grill in Southport… but  I was determined to join a spirited group for CTbites Invites Passover Cooking, so maneuvered my way around to the side parking lot and entrance. 

Chef/owner Judith Roll greeted everyone with hot coffee and her spongy homemade lemon cake as we were handed recipes for the morning's “hands on” cooking class in the Tabouli kitchen. (See Chef Judy's recipe for Bubbe's Brisket below.)

Chef Judy, who has traveled the world bringing authentic Middle Eastern cuisine to her two restaurants, in Stamford and in Southport, is passionate about what she prepares and had created a wonderful Passover menu for our entertainment and dining pleasure ( Passover is March 25-April 2 ).

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Eren’s Grill: Regional Turkish Cuisine in Fairfield CT

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Eren’s Grill was the neatness and precision of the refrigerator case.  Platters of perfectly aligned kebabs await the grill. Bowls of bright-red-hued eggplant-tomato salad and  pale, fluffy humus.  Glistening rows of dark-green stuffed grape leaves.  Then Eren, a young man wearing chef’s white’s embellished with the Turkish flag, stepped out from the open kitchen and proudly started telling me about his fresh and homemade food.

Fairfield’s new and only Turkish restaurant is a small joint in a strip mall. With just a few tables, it does a lot of take-out and catering. Whether eat-in or take-out, it’s a welcome addition to the Tunxis Hill section of Fairfield, a neighborhood that could use more good food. And the food here is good: fresh and full of flavor.  Ottoman cuisine has a long and noble history, and Eren – who was head chef of the Athens’ Tike, an international group of Turkish restaurants in places like London, Cyprus and Kiev -- for 8 years -- is proud to put his signature on it. “I want to play a little,” he says.

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Tabouli Grill Opens 2nd Location in Southport

There seems to be a new trendy area developing just where Westport meets Southport. To borrow from our trendy NYC neighbors, maybe we should call it "Down Under (the exit) Nineteen Overpass" or DUNO. In the past year, we have seen some great new restaurants open in this area, including the oh-so-trendy GREY GOOSE at 246 Old Post Road and the latest COROMANDEL, serving great Indian food at 17 Pease Avenue . Now, luckily for us, a second TABOULI GRILL opened 2 weeks ago at its new location at 3381 Post Road. (Formerly home to Ole' Mole.) TABOULI GRILL is making DUNO it's second home and we quickly made it ours.

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Zaatar Meatballs via Jeanette's Healthy Living 

Today, I tried a new spice called zaatar (or za'atar) in a meatball recipe. Meatballs are popular with my kids, and an easy way to introduce new spices to them.  Zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice, is a mixture of sumac (which has a lemony taste), thyme and sesame seeds.  Zaatar is not a strong spice, but it has a nice tang from the sumac.

Traditionally, zaatar is mixed with olive oil and baked on a flat bread called manakeesh bi zaatar.  It is also eaten with labneh (a strained yogurt), bread and olive oil for breakfast. In the Middle East, zaatar is believed to have health advancing properties, including making the mind alert and the body strong.

I found a recipe for meatballs using zaatar

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Cafe D'Azur Opens in Darien w/ French-Lebanese Fare

What do you get when you combine a Greek-Lebanese restaurateur with a French chef?  A Mediterranean bistro with brasserie flair. In Darien, a town long on Asian eateries and upscale pub fare, a true ethnic restaurant is a welcome addition. In fact, Cafe D'Azur Mediterranean Bistro & Creperie's opening was highly anticipated by those of us familiar with Myrna's eponymous restaurant in Stamford, a popular lunch spot.  

I dropped in on Cafe D'Azur a couple weeks after it opened

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Bereket Turkish Restaurant "2" Opens in Bridgeport


Last spring we told you about Bereket, an tiny authentic Turkish eatery tucked behind a gas station in Bridgeport.  This fortuitous find primarily offered takeout, but if you were lucky enough to get one of the 3 small tables, you were served food worthy of an Ottoman emperor. While we loved hiding out behind the Citgo station, we were pleased to hear that owner Selahattin Cinar had moved his very reasonably priced menu and talented cooks to a much larger space in Blackrock (the old Helados Vazquez). With an upgraded interior worthy of the excellent fare, Selahattin can now focus on the customer experience...and a more gracious host you've never seen. Warm up your car for a quick departure to Bridgeport. 

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Middle Eastern Home Cooking @ Safita

Overlooking the Mediterranean sea, nestled among 3 hills and their valleys, is the beautiful, old town of Safita, Syria. Only a few miles from the long island sound, nestled between Westport and Fairfield proper, is the beautiful, month old middle eastern restaurant, SAFITA. It is the "Tale" of two Safitas, both with their charm, beauty, and authenticity. And it is just this authenticity that Kheder Hassoun and his family bring to this brand new Middle Eastern restaurant, situated where the old Chat 'N Chew used to be. Tiny in size but big in hospitality, Safita, at 2217 Post Road in Fairfield is pulling in the crowds, night after night. This is middle eastern at its finest, with "Ummu" ("mother" in Arabic) Amal in the kitchen, cooking up all her own recipes from scratch. This ain't your roadside Shawarma.

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Rosh Hashanah Recipes from Tabouli Grill

The Jewish holidays are around the corner, and with the kids just barely back to school, it seemed as though we could all use a little assist with the Rosh Hashanah menu this year. Next week? Really?

Judy Roll of Tabouli Grill in Stamford has come to the rescue with three great recipes to fill out your holiday table. Here's what's on the menu: Cumin Roasted Cauliflower with Yellow Raisins and Toasted Pine Nuts, Bubbe’s Brisket, and Kasha Varnishke. If you really just don't feel like cooking, Tabouli Grill is also happy to do the work for you as you can see in their Rosh Hashanah Package below.

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