Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Mount of Lebanon

0297Fans of the Lebanese Butcher, a business that closed last fall due to a fire that destroyed its building, can rejoice at the opening of Mount of Lebanon, the new incarnation of that Falls Church establishment.

Located right around the corner from its former home, Mount of Lebanon has found a new place to open up shop in the old Majestic nightclub.

The nightclub setting lends some swankiness to the spot, as well as ample space that is filled with dozens of elegant, red-clothed tables.

The first overwhelming impression of the spot is of its authenticity. Signs proclaiming the use of halal meat, a long juice bar serving about 20 varieties of juice and other non-alcoholic potables, a prayer room, and a patio for smoking shisha, all suggest a faithful adaptation of a Middle Eastern eatery here in Falls Church.

The menu is no exception. The meal begins with appetizers, which can range from the staple hoummus $5 to the less common $10 kibeh nayih. The former is an impossibly creamy blend of chick peas, tahini, garlic, lemon and pools of olive oil, best eaten with the ample triangles of warm pita bread served at the table for a delicious, tangy treat. The latter is a dish of raw, seasoned, ground lamb meat, thickened with wheat and served alongside fresh vegetables. While some might question consuming raw meat, the rich, savory flavor and smooth texture of the dish are enough to dissuade any concerns.

Sandwich options between $4 and $7 are a lighter option, but many of the meats that make up these sandwiches take center stage in the dinner platters. Such is the case with the lamb shawarma platter which, at $12, serves a heaping helping of pieces of shaved lamb. The spit-grilled meat takes on an almost velvety texture, equal parts crispy and moist in each bite. The platter is rounded out with heaps of fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomato and cucumber, as well as a cup of tahini sauce to bring a new flavor element to the nicely seasoned meat.

0294While the restaurant has other meat options, as well as a handful of seafood picks, lamb is king at this spot, and another great lamb option is the lamb ouzi at $12. The dish, served beneath an overturned bowl to keep its shape, is a tall mound of seasoned rice and lamb pieces, with the subtle taste of mint that complements the lamb well and stands out amidst the flavors of the dish.

Not all picks fall into the Middle Eastern cuisine category, and picks like hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza cater to diners less eager to embark upon a culinary voyage, but options like the lamb’s brain sandwich and the quail platter give customers an express ticket.

Whatever the journey, it comes to a close with dessert, and this spot offers about a dozen sweet ways to end a meal, including a must-have piece of flaky, custard-filled pastry decadently drizzled in honey.

For reasonable prices, an authentic Middle Eastern dining experience, and above all, the excellent tastes of the dishes served up at Mount of Lebanon, this former dance hall is sure to fill up.

Mount of Lebanon is located at 2922 Annandale Road, Falls Church. For more information, call 703-241-2012. Restaurant hours are Monday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m., and 3 a.m. on the patio.