Taste of Lebanon
1509 W Foster Ave
Don’t think of this tiny cult-following Andersonville eatery as a restaurant – more as an indoor food cart. Sparse decor and simple tables and chairs line the path to the back wall where a hand-lettered signboard advertises an adequate menu of Middle Eastern favorites like baba ghanouj, shewarma, and falafel.
Anyone who reads reviews of Taste of Lebanon will immediately encounter reviews of the lentil soup declaring it one of the best soups in the city. It being a cold night when the Eaters arrived, of course we decided to give it a shot. We don’t have enough soups under our belt to judge it in reference to the rest of Chicago, but its rich, creamy texture with a potent peppery kick was delicious and surprising in a very good way. It was definitely the highlight of the meal.
M had the chicken shewarma, which was good – but not great. The chicken was a little on the dry side, and for a dish like shewarma its pretty important that the chicken’s natural flavors come out to interact with the other ingredients. Given how good the soup was, and that shewarma is such a standard dish for Middle Eastern restaurants, he was pretty surprised that it wasn’t a few notches higher on the tasty scale. L stuck with the falafel wrap and a hummus plate to share, two of her old favorites. Our table enjoyed the hummus, which was creamy and with plenty of tahini. The falafel wrap was also good, and the falafel freshly fried – it was advertised on the door as ‘world famous’ though I’m not sure I would go that far with the praise.
The only downside was that the pitas were anything but fresh (or good, for that matter). They came to the table in the package, and were bit dry and stale. Going a little dry on the chicken is acceptable, but it’s a bit of a sin not to have good pitas. Those non-withstanding, you can’t really go wrong at Taste of Lebanon. Overall, the food is delicious and your wallet won’t take a hit (a definite plus for us grad students). If you’re still hungry for more after dinner, for some dessert head across the street to Middle Eastern Pastry and Bakery (1512 West Foster Avenue).