Omnivore - Mezza: Still among the city’s best for Middle-Eastern cooking

Choose from well over 50 dishes

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My regular Friday dinner pals and I had one of our BME (best meals ever) last week. We visited Mezza in Oak Grove. Since its opening in 2001, the Lebanese bistro has been frequently cited as the city’s best for Middle Eastern food.

The menu includes more than 50 dishes — mainly vegetarian and gluten-free. It’s small plates only, but portions are generous. We ordered 2 or 3 dishes each and waddled away from the table.

I’m not going to inventory everything we ate. Being the negative person I am, I will however warn you away from one dish — basturma (bad photo at right), which our server described as pastrami. It tasted nothing like pastrami to me. The thin slices of virtually tasteless dried beef were served with tomatoes and cornichons.

I did, however, enjoy a small crock of roasted lamb whose spices included a surprising, faint sweet note. Other meat dishes — chicken shawarma, kibbi balls, and beef-stuffed grape leaves — drew raves.

We ordered several cheese dishes and vegetarian specialties. My favorite was fried cauliflower with tahini,

I was the only person at the table to order dessert — two semolina cookies stuffed with dried dates. Imagine a super-crumbly Fig Newton. I suggest you pick the restaurant’s famously delicious homemade ice cream instead.