Dinner started with the hummus appetizer and an accompanying discussion on what hummus is supposed to taste like. Answer: this. It's served with an herbed pesto oil that you can drizzle over the hummus and their thick, soft, fluffy pita bread.
I got the imam biyaldi, an eggplant dish that's essentially half an eggplant with garlic, peppers, and tomatoes broiled inside it. It's served with a side scoop of white rice. I cut it all up and mixed it together... For $9, the portion was absolutely generous. I had to stop myself from eating past the limits of my stomach capacity, but it just tasted too good.
My mom's moussaka was equally magnificent-tasting, although the portion was a bit less substantial than my eggplant. Plus the rice side seems extraneous with the amount of potato in the dish.
But the kind of food that tastes so incredible, you want to order plate after plate of it, trying to convince yourself that there's no such thing as "uncomfortably full," that there could be no pain in the world as long as you are shoveling these flavors into your esophagus by the bucketful-- that only goes so far. What made our dinner a five-star experience was the fact that when I asked to pack my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, our waiter asked if I wanted to include my mom's extra white rice. I was torn: did I want to ruin the perfect balance that I had managed of vegetable-saucy goodness and moist, fluffy rice? I expressed my concerns to the waiter.
He looked at me, recognized me for the impoverished grad student that I am, and said, "I'll put extra sauce on it for you."
And brought me a free refill of my diet coke.
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