THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED TEMPORARILY, AND IT MAY BE PERMANENT.
Maybe it's more than simple coincidence that the name of this Lebanese spot sounds like a sneeze; at the end of your delicious meal, you'll likely want to bless the place. Owner Sen Elkahaoui, originally from the southern city of Tyre, Lebanon, cooks up fresh food from the homeland for a mixed American and Middle Eastern crowd. The menu features reasonably priced sandwiches like the tender grilled shish kabob, as well as a long list of veggie, meat and seafood options. Expect to spend no more than $8 on lunch, but be prepared to shell out between $10 and $25 on dinner (only the charbroiled lamb chop entree hits the upper limit).
Inside the elegant storefront, diners will enjoy the pleasant, low-key ambiance. Painted scenes and photographs of the people and places of Lebanon pop up all over the maroon-colored walls. The labneh appetizer—homemade, yogurt-based cream cheese served with dry mint, olives and olive oil—is just one of the Lebanese specialties on the menu. Other more familiar appetizers like falafel, baba ghanouj and spinach pie are also available for the less adventurous. Unlike other Middle Eastern places, Fattoush offers two seafood entrees: bakedsamak (salmon) with "special spices" and dill herbs as well as samkeh harra, a baked whole boneless trout stuffed to the gills—literally—with cilantro, garlic, onions, tomatoes and more "special spices." The only downfall to the eating experience here is the giant TV that takes up half of the front window; it's a distraction from the divine flavors to which you'll really want to give all your attention.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Alicia Eler