Thursday, June 7, 2012

Albawadi Mediterranean Cuisine

So, I got home from work and my wife decided that she wanted to treat herself so something new for dinner. We headed out to the newest addition to the Stillwater dining scene; Albawadi Mediterranean Cuisine, up on Boomer road.

I'll just start off by saying that the experience was wonderful and the food was bordering on a religious experience.  We were given complimentary soups to start the evening off with, My wife got the lentil soup and my son and I opted for the  chicken noodle. I'm not really a fan of either but being a new restaurant I kept an open mind.  Well, I'm  so glad I did. The chicken soup was amazing. The broth was home made and seasoned to perfection, and the noodles were an ideal texture and weight for the serving.  I tried my wife's lentil soup, something I normally hate, and was stunned to find the texture and flavor so good I almost ran off with the half serving that was left. It has a thick, somewhat grainy texture that slid over the tongue wonderfully, the flavor was perfect, and just sweet enough to like, but mellow enough not to overpower.

The main course was to die for. I ordered a Chicken Biryani wrapped in pita bread like a Gyro. The chicken was spotted bright red with seasoning, making me worry about how strong the flavor would be. But it was mellow and wonderful and warm and it just painted flavor across the mouth with tender cuts of meat and cool sauce and warm bread…. To die for.

My son ordered dolmas, grape-leaf wrapped rice. I have tried Dolmas close to a dozen times before, and they were always too rubbery for me, an the rice never did anything for me in way of flavor. These, however, were amazing. The leaves were thinner, the oil lighter, and the rice was much, much more flavorful. I normally have one to nibble on and hold me over before my meal, it was all I could do not to steal all seven of my son's before my meal came.

My wife ordered the vegetable platter, an assortment of various baked and fried goods, including taziki sauce
hummus, taboli, falafel  and a few other odds and ends that were just delightful to nibble on. We learned while we were eating that everything but the bread was home made and made that day, a fact that you could taste in every bite of the food.

The establishment is wonderfully decorated, simple but colorful, not too overpowering but clearly Mediterranean. You're not transported to another place, but you could certainty say that this is a local culinary embassy.

While wonderful, the visit wasn't perfect. The service is clearly still going through growing pains, and the food was a tad slow coming out. Not unreasonably, but longer than most of us were expecting. However, the manager came out  after a short while, asked how the soup was, and then said that desserts were on the house because of the delay in getting dinner out to us. Good customer service, and a great way to rope in repeat customers (like us). All in all, so long as you walk in expecting to spend about ninety minutes there, you shouldn't have any surprises.

This place is amazing, and I highly, highly recommend it to anyone and everyone in the Stillwater area, or even anyone visiting from out of town. 

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