This is my first visit to the Kingdom of Jordan, and with any new place that I go, I like to immerse myself into the culture of where I go. I am not the typical American who orders hamburgers and pizza everywhere in this world that they go. Since I’m visiting Jordan, you know what I’m eating. The Restaurant was called Sufra. The décor was nice, very typical for a Middle Eastern Style Restaurant, and the food was excellent, but you want to know the buts? I am a Chef, restaurant, and wine conasour, so when I eat I look at the big picture. I won’t give five stars just on food alone. I am picky and a pain in the rear, but I tip well. First let’s talk about the amazing food. I ask the waiter to recommend as I am new to Jordanian cuisine, and he has eaten it his entire life. We settled on five courses. The first dish was an item called Thalat, which was roasted lamb spleen stuffed with parsley and chili peppers. The second was a Beitinjan Salad which was julienned Aborigine (eggplant) with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes…Yummy. The third dish was Gallayeh which is a warm spicy tomato stew with diced lamb cubes, by far the best item I had on the coursed meal. The main entrée course was Mansaf which was a rice based dish with lamb chunks, almonds and a warm yogurt sauce. I’ll be honest, the lamb had a bad taste to it compared to the other lamb dishes I had had. It tasted very similar to Foie Gras. Now I love foie Gras, but I was expecting to have a nice favorable lamb with rice, not a lamb that tasted like Duck liver. Finally for dessert they gave me a wonderful dairy pudding dish with cardamom and pistachio’s called Muhalabiya. So besides the main course tasting like Duck liver, the meal was fantastic or as they say in Arabic Kaan al-ta’aam lazeez (that was delicious)!
Now, are you ready for the but? Walking into the restaurant, every table had an ash-tray. Red alert, I don’t smoke, so I only prayed no one sat down at a table next to me a lit up, thank god they didn’t. Second as my courses came out they placed a hookah water pipe next to me and placed the hot coals on for me to smoke. They didn’t ask they just fired it up. Again I had to explain that I didn’t smoke anything, to include anything from a Bong. Third, I saw a waiter sneeze into his hands, and then instead of going to the restroom to wash, he went into the kitchen and delivered food to a table, major turn off, which means the waiter was not properly trained in ServSafe hygiene of food service. Then as my waiter and I finished discussing what wonderful food that I wanted, they delivered three courses to me at one time. I like to course my food out one plate at a time so that I can saver, and digest my food properly. For me eating out is an event and I will take hours doing it if I really enjoy it. By the time my entrée came I was too full from eating the others in a hurry so that the hot ones would not go cold, and the cold ones would not reach room temperature. That and the entrée tasted like duck liver. Lastly though not a big thing, the coffee was served in a shot-style glass instead of a mug. It did not have a handle, so picking it up to drink can cause a degree of discomfort to your fingers as a warning. Now, it is tradition to serve coffee in this matter, so even though I suffered some discomfort, this is the traditional way. I would recommend eating here so you can try some traditional Jordanian cuisine, just be prepared for the basic things that they take for granted, but in the West is rarely seen anymore. I give it 3 out of 5 starts for the food. Total cost before gratuity was 43 Jordanian Dinars (1 JOD = $1.40 US, € 1.09 Euro's, or £ .88 GBP).
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