When I was in college at Holy Cross, I began to patronize the old El Morocco up on Grafton Hill. It was this iconic restaurant that made me fall in like with Middle Eastern Cuisine and I have loved this kind of food ever since. The El Morocco is long gone, but the tradition of Lebanese food is alive and well at El Basha on the corner of Lake Avenue and Belmont Street, a small, but stylish Lebanese restaurant that I've visited off and on for over thirty years.
The food is still quite good and the wait staff is great. I visited yesterday with my parents who share my liking for this ethnic cuisine. We were seated promptly in the first of two dining rooms at a table beneath a painting depicting Arabic men in turbans and galabiyyas. The painting set the mood. Within minutes we had pita bread, hummus, and baba ganoush and were perusing the rather extensive menu. Egyptian legend Umm e Kulsoom could be heard over the sound system.
I ordered the 'El' salad for the table. This is an iceberg lettuce salad with olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and feta cheese. The dressing is classic olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mint. Don't miss this salad. My guests had Chicken Kebab with grilled vegetables and rice, the kofta kebab with grilled vegetables and rice. I ordered Port Said, a mixture of grilled lamb, mushrooms, pine nuts, Syrian pepper, garlic, onions, and who knows what else? The dish is savory and rich and was well prepared.
Alas, no room for dessert, but the waitress told us as we paid our check, that she hadn't seen us in a while, and she hoped we'd be back soon. Let it be so! Enjoy this wonderful restaurant.
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