Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vanderbilt Avenue is Singing a New Toon

For the last 2 years that I have lived in this neighborhood, it has been seriously lacking in Middle Eastern restaurants.

As it is, the dining out experience leaves us with slim pickins on this side of Flatbush Avenue, with a scant few good places to chow down at {my late night drunken munchies hangout used to be Crown Fried Chicken, if that gives you any indication. But it's closed now. Boo.}

The popular Zaytoons, which already existed in BoCoCa and Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, opened in prospect heights a few months ago.

Let me begin by saying that I am half Lebanese, and spent 1/4 of my life in the Middle East, and eating my Grandma's cooking, and I KNOW good Middle Eastern food when I see it. And this, my lovely blogger friends, is DANG good.

I've been ordering in from the restaurant a good twice a week now, and
Brooklyn Gal and I ventured over to the actual restaurant a few weeks back.

Very importantly, the space is quite big, with tons of room between tables. None of that cramming in bullshit. perfect for all you claustrophobics. More importantly, they serve alcohol {which I don't think they do at the other locations}, and it is cheaper than a hooker outside the Holland Tunnel on a Sunday morning. We're talking $4.25 for a glass of wine or beer--ok it's not Chateau Margot but hey, it's not about the wine now, is it?

Now, most importantly, the food. It is divine. If you are into Middle Eastern Mezze, this is the place to get it. I always order the combo plate-you get a choice of five salads, including felafel. I usually get the labneh,

which is just thick enough and peppered with dill and mint.
Fattoush salad,

with just the right amount of baked pita crumpled over it. The felafel is crunchy and bite sized, the hummus and babaganoush creamy and delicious.

I've also had their mujaderra {lentils rice and fried onions} which is extremely flavorful and filling.

The appetizers all come with a couple of warm, homemade pitas, which are soft, and perfect for dipping, but I like to order a side of zatar bread.

It's served like a pizza, and tastes delish dipped in a mound of labneh. YUM.

My new favorite thing to do is get off the Q train after work, pick up a cheap bottle of white from Fermented Grapes, grab my grub and head on home for a feast. Such as tonight. Good times.


Todd said...

Best Zaytoons I've ever had was in Dublin, Ireland. Seriously.

5 of 9er said...

Yea for fun new food in the hood... but sad Crown Fried is not there, that has been there forever.

i like cheese said...

Todd-there's a Zaytoons in Dublin?
I must investigate!

9er-Better for me that Crown Fried Chicken is gone. Those fries almost killed me dead one night. Ech.

roopa said...

You bitch now I want Zaytoons.

Michelle L. said...

That looks fantastic!

I have yet to find decent stuffed kibbe. I always order it, but it never measures up. (I lived in Syria, I guess nothing ever will measure up, eh?)

i like cheese said...

Roopa-Well get your ass on over here and have some with me, you bitch!

Michelle-I sadly stopped eating lamb many years ago, but nobody could make baked kibbe like my grandma. :) PS I'd love to hear about your time in Syria!

Anonymous said...

I ate there the other night with a veggie-only friend of mine, and I completely concur with your evaluation. Fantastic eats and low prices.

Vanderbilt is the new Flatbush!

Susan said...

I recently tried a mujaderra dish at a place near where I live for the first time. I never knew lentils could be so appealing...! I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was.

i like cheese said...

Skinbeater Greg-as long as Vanderbilt doesn't become the new Smith Street, it's all good.

Susan-So true. Lentils are normally such an "eh" food.

DrunkBrunch said...

1. If you find any cheap studio/1-bdrms in your 'hood, let me know.

2. Let me know if you're up for a repeat visit - I love Middle Eastern food and need to get to know Brooklyn :)

i like cheese said...

1. Depends on your definition of "cheap"--I will certainly keep my ears open.

2. Sounds like we have another activity for the week between Christmas and New Years :)

brookLyn gaL said...

Mmmmmmmm, that was such a good meal. I need to get back there! Let's drag DB out to our hood and have another feast!