These family restaurants usually serve the best food! Check out the full article [Here].
Lakkis and Houssein met while in school in Beirut. Lakkis’ parents ran the Middle East Bakery near Allentown, Pa., for years, so she comes by her pastry prowess honestly. She is responsible for Beirut Café’s spinach pies, for the maamoul shortbread of semolina with dates or pistachio, the namourra with the texture of corn bread drizzled with rosewater, and (the showstopper) cheesecake baklava.
This spring has seen some joy and some hardship for the owners. In May, one of the couple’s sons got married and, on the same day, another went into the hospital. The result was that the restaurant spent a few weeks shuttered, but the tiny, 34-seat cafe is back in full swing.
Take a gander at the dessert case before finding your table. Lakkis will whisk by to take drink orders or open your beer or wine for you (it’s BYO) and bring glassware. By her own admission, service can be sluggish, but she’s confident the food is worth a wait.
I agree. The maza (appetizer) sampler is a fine way to start ($14 for 2 people, $26 for 4), with five items arrayed attractively. The falafel are some of the best in Pinellas County, crisp and greaseless with the earthy flavor of chickpea and fava bean, best dunked in piquant tahini sauce. Join these with tightly rolled, minty grape leaves (sometimes with rice, sometimes with wheat berries), maybe with a scoop of thick, garlicky labneh (yogurt sauce), hummus dotted with sauteed ground meat and toasted pine nuts and refreshing yogurty cuke salad.