There were five of us, which is an easy number to fit into one car. We parked across the street from the restaurant and walked gingerly over the new trolley tracks on Delmar. I had a flash back of doing that many times in downtown Washington when I was a kid. I always scanned the tracks to see if a penny, nickle or even a dime might have rolled into the crevices. According to a popular urban legend, someone had once found a diamond ring! Such worthless trivia is hard to forget.
Middle East Food Favorites
My introduction to Middle East food came years ago with a cautious tasting of spiced chickpeas and parsley, that had been shaped in the size of golf balls and fried. Falafels, as they are called, are crunchy on the outside and soft and greenish on the inside.
I came to love the flavorful little orbs, that are often served with vegetable salads. Some times these Persian tidbits can be dry and disappointing. But like a good Southern-style hush puppy, when you get ’em just right, they’re good eatin’. That’s how they serve the falafels at Ranoush.
The decor in the corner restaurant is definitely Middle Eastern, but restrained, with no over-zealous attempt to make the place look like a set from Arabian Nights. As I scanned the menu and the colorful plates of those sitting around me, I recognized many of the foods that I’d eaten in Turkey, Israel and Oman.
As our group often does, we decided to share a variety of dishes. We started with an eggplant meze, an appetizer that was much like a salad. The bountiful platter of pita and creamy hummus set the stage for the flavors to follow. For entrees we shared three different kebob plates: beef, chicken, and lamb—all juicy, tender and nicely seasoned.
We learned from our server that the hookah pipes contain flavored tobacco (shisha) and molasses, that are heated in the bowl. The smoke created passes through water and is drawn up through a short hose to a mouthpiece. (Cost: $13; not sure how may puffs that gives you.) Despite the instructive demonstration, the five women at our table decide that we’d acquired enough bad habits over the years. We had neither room, nor time, in our lives for anymore.
On the way to our car, the “child” in me checked the trolley tracks again. Drats! No coins. My eyesight’s not what it used to be. But we had re-discovered Ranoush and that was a very worthwhile find.
Ranoush (2 locations): In the Loop, 6501 Delmar and Kirkwood, 200 N. Kirkwood. Mon-Thu, Sun 11a-12a; Fri-Sat 11a-1:30a.