Last weekend, I was in Baltimore, Maryland for the IA Summit conference. I had two amazing meals there that I photographed to share. Here is a look at one of them.
The first I have to share is the lunch I had at Lebanese Taverna, which is a family restaurant serving food from their home country of Lebanon in various outposts (6! Well, the founding couple does have 5 grown children now) in the DC Metropolitan area, which include this restaurant in the Harbor East area of the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, nestled by the Legg Mason building and Four Seasons and the Promenade Apartment Building, so they have created a menu of authentic dishes that offer nourishment and comfort for residents while also the presentation and the hip modern atmosphere inside (and views of the water with their large bay windows) to satisfy the business and hotel guests as well. It was a little chilly that day, but they also outdoor seating which I could imagine makes for great al fresco dining with the views of the sailboats and people walking by.
Quite a few other attendees I chatted with had mentioned Lebanese Taverna, and I’m glad I tried it. For my quick lunch in between sessions on Sunday, I went with a recommendation from the waiter from the small plates section, Ouzi dish of braised lamb, spiced rice, yogurt sauce. The lamb was tender and moist and flavorful. The ouzi was really leaning towards a regular plate in amount rather the described “small plate” you can see, but I found the strength and resolve (ha ha) to make sure there was nothing left on that plate.
I had to ask the waiter because I had a difficult time choosing: other items such as chicken schwarma with rotisserie cooked chicken, Kibbeh Nayeh with lamb tartare, Eggs Awarma with housemade lamb confit with the scrambled egg, Shakshouka with poached eggs in a tomatoes and chili pepper gravy, Manakish Zaatar or Manakish B’Jibne flatbread with either mixed herbs or cheese, Maanek mild sausage or Sujok spicy sausage (both made with lamb & beef), Mediterranean cheese platter… hard call!
As you can probably also see, the pita bread arrives fresh to the table (too hot for me to even pick up to start) in a little basket perfectly shaped for dipping, along with olive oil and seasonings.
I then finished with sweetness thanks to Knafe bel jibne, a dish of sweet cheese tart, golden semolina crust and sesame seed biscuit. This was listed on the Hot Mezze section of the menu (I did not have the stomach capacity to additionally order a Cold Mezze, sorry), but also on their Dessert section. The Dessert selections enticed me in multiple ways as well, offering the traditional baklava as well but also other options such as Halawet Jibne (a sweet cheese crepe with pistachio brittle and candied orange zest) and warm awamat (Lebanese donuts served with honey-saffron syrup, yogurt-milk pudding) or molten chocolate “Turkish Coffee” cake that boasted cardamom, marshmallow, and pistachio-orange ice cream. Yes, Lebanese sweets have a lot to offer!
The Knafe bel jibne was a really light dessert that balanced between the butteryness of the tart’s crust, the freshness of the cheese in the tart, and the seedy biscuit that had honey holding it onto the plate (and perhaps I wiped up more of that honey with that flakey biscuit as well). If I am in the area again, I would definitely give Lebanese Taverna another try. Despite several meat offerings, their menu also has options that could satisfy any vegetarian and will probably be a welcome break from all the seafood you will probably end up having (especially the Maryland crabcake). Doesn’t this inspire you to go out and have some Lebanese, or at least Mediterranean food now? Lebanese food is a lot more like tapas with small plates so definitely invite some friends so you can order a whole table’s worth of color and tastes.