Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Jerusalem Restaurant

restaurantThe day I went to Jerusalem Restaurant was the first day it started snowing. Traffic was slow, drivers other than myself were all incompetent and I needed something rich and hearty to fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling that you just can’t get from shoving tons of Christmas cookies in your face. Having spent several months in the city of Jerusalem last year, I managed to get well acquainted with the food, and Jerusalem Restaurant knows how to make authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

restaurantThe day I went to Jerusalem Restaurant was the first day it started snowing. Traffic was slow, drivers other than myself were all incompetent and I needed something rich and hearty to fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling that you just can’t get from shoving tons of Christmas cookies in your face. Having spent several months in the city of Jerusalem last year, I managed to get well acquainted with the food, and Jerusalem Restaurant knows how to make authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with food from the Middle East, your ignorance (probably unintentional) is tragic. The blend of spices, olive oil and chick peas into pretty much every dish makes for a delicious combination that fills you up without being too heavy or weighing you down with empty calories. For the same amount of calories you would get in a McChicken sandwich (my main weakness), you get a lot more hummus and pita bread without doing as much damage to your heart. The people at Jerusalem are clearly aware of this, as the portions are positively gigantic.

The lamb kabsa, although a bit boney, is a huge pile of spiced rice chock full of juicy lamb chunks. This is big enough to be lunch and dinner, or a shared meal between at least two people. The rice was a tad dry, but given that it was spicy and probably enough to feed a family for a month, it wasn’t problematic.

For those with smaller stomachs and a burning desire for something that will keep you going all day, the falafel is your best bet. A deep-fried blend of chick peas, parsley and other spices with some tahini sauce on the side, these five patties will give you enough carbohydrate-based energy to keep you going all day. Falafel patties allowed me to survive the scorching Jerusalem summer on a budget, and although it is no longer 110 degrees outside, I assume they will help us survive the (probably) brutal winter ahead.

Only a fool could write a review of a Middle Eastern restaurant without getting some hummus, arguably one of the greatest chick-pea-and-tahini-based dishes in history. Although I’ve done some foolish things recently, I was smart enough to order some hummus with beef. This hummus is the real deal. Not too thick, not too creamy, and with just enough spice to make it stand out from whatever they have in the grocery store. With pine nuts and meat, it goes from being merely a delicious hors d’oeuvre into a full-fledged meal.

Finishing this caravan of taste was some of the best baklava I’ve ever had. Although the phyllo dough was a bit loose and not that crispy, the strong honey taste made up for it. This is baklava you can sink your teeth into without having to deal with any weird ingredients that some places put into their regular baklava. It is well worth the $2-a-slice price tag.

If you’re still reading this, it means you’re probably not at Jerusalem Restaurant. Make a pilgrimage for large portions of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine at rock-bottom prices.

Jerusalem Restaurant is located at 3405 Payne St., Falls Church.  Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information, call 703-379-4200 or visit
jerusalem-va.info.