Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nicholas Restaurant: Lebanese Food

It’s not often I find myself mmm-ing through a meal, but today I did just that when a friend took me to lunch at Nicholas Restaurant, a Lebanese/Middle Eastern place on SE Grand. I ordered the Vegetarian Mezza platter with falafel, hummus, tahziki, tabouli, spinach pie, manakish, and pita bread – yes, it was a lot of food!

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about was the spinach pie, maybe just because everything else was so outstanding and this was… well, not bad, but certainly not outstanding.
Manakish was totally new to me. It’s a little round of pizza-like dough topped with thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac, and olive oil. I wasn’t sure at first – the flavors are pretty mild – but the sesame seeds (I think it was the sesame seeds) gave it a nice texture that I can’t quite describe – slightly crunchy maybe? With each bite, I liked it more and more. I had to look up sumac, which, according to Wikipedia, is used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste.
Just about a week ago I had falafel at another place and I really wasn’t crazy about it. This time, however, I loved it! The texture, the density, and the seasoning were all just right. It had a nice, crisp exterior without being too greasy and it was delicious with the smooth, cool tahziki. The tabouli was loaded with parsley and really great with the creamy, rich hummus and the wonderful, fresh-baked pita bread, still warm from the oven.
Looking around the tiny restaurant, everything I saw on every table looked fabulous: stuffed grape leaves, fried eggplant and zucchini slices, kabobs, baked dough with toppings and stuffings, salads, rice, steaming discs of bread, and exotic-looking drinks. I’ll definitely be going back to try more of the beautiful food at Nicholas Restaurant!

1 comment:

  1. Noreen at JS was just talking about having gone to Nicholas in Gresham. After that I heard a few more people talking about it. My cousin & her family could quite a lot of this food. After reading your review of the place I think it is a must try!