Kibberia Restaurant Brings Middle Eastern Cuisine to Westport

Sarah Green

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. Carole 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.

We sampled numerous classic Lebanese dishes, including a killer LENTIL SOUP, rich and flavorful with no cream what-so-ever.  The MOUJADRA, warm lentils with sautéed onion and rice, was also delicious. The onion sweetened the dish to perfection and the warm lentils were tender and succulent atop the bouncy rice. The FALAFEL were small but well-seasoned and the TAHINI sauce for dipping was creamy and delicious. Tahini is a silky puree of roasted and ground sesame kernels with just enough lemon juice, salt and garlic, and is the perfect complement to the ground chickpea patties.

The BABA GHANOUJ was exceptional with tender, mashed eggplant acting as the base for more TAHINI, lemon and garlic.  Best of all, for me, was the FATTOUSH SALAD. Here, a crunchy, pita bowl was filled with crisp lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon, garlic, sumac and plenty of mint. So refreshing and tasty, it is a wonderful salad to wake up the taste buds.

We ordered one dish that was slightly disappointing. The SPINACH PIE was tasty, enough, but the pie crust, made on site, was soggy and quite tasteless. Definite room for improvement on that one and I won’t order another pie until the chef has time to adjust her recipe somewhat.

And then there were the desserts. Well. Yum. Again, all chosen at the counter and from trays on display. There were PISTACHIO and WALNUT “Fingers,” there were several types of BAKLAVA (not too cloying - as Baklava can sometimes be, because these were of the drier, less honey soaked variety) nutty cookies and cookies with dates and rosehip puree, and an outrageous COCONUT SCOOP, a ball of coconut with nuts and chocolate surround. It tasted just like a mini- Almond Joy candy bar and we devoured it.

Again, KIBBERIA is the perfect lunch and take-out place. I wish they were open past 9:00pm as this would be the perfect place to grab a light dinner after a movie. The restaurant also serves wine but the owners are happy for you to bring your own. You have to be prepared for the mediocre packaging - cafeteria style dining - and focus on the quality of the food and the freshness of the ingredients.

KIBBERIA pleases all.

KIBBERIA 361 Post Rd W, Westport, Connecticut 06880 (203) 349-5512

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