Winter 2010 Update:
The menu will be changing to the same menu as Nicholas Restaurant.
Date: October 5, 2007
Times Visited: 1
This is one of those reviews I don’t want to write because I want to keep this joint all to myself. After eschewing the hour plus wait at The Farm, figuring the wait at Nicholoas’ on a Saturday night would be the same, and crossing off Ya Hala because of the distance – we decided to try Arabian Breeze. All I knew was that it was in a recently renovated daylight basement near NE 39th and Broadway. Best choice I’ve made, food wise, since Los Gorditos.
Arabian Breeze is another fantastic restaurant by the owners of Nicholas’. This place has it all – nice decor (though very low ceilings), the wonderful bread from Nicholas’, the smoky baba from Ya Hala, vegan items noted on the menu, burger and fries, pizza, imported beer, a private hookah room, & did I mention the endless bread?
We were seated promptly and given thick menus. In no time a small, but tall, platter was placed on our table and a large piece of fresh baked flat bread was draped over it. Along came the olive oil with lots of dried spices. This is when I decided I would be happy just eating their bread for the rest of my meal.
First up, we ordered a side of Baba and the Vegan Mezza. It was more than enough food for six people. The platter had falafel, hummus, a spicy mashed chickpea spread, caramelized onions, baked cauliflower, a smoky, chopped eggplant spread and tahini sauce. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try everything because the food went quickly. Everyone enjoyed the food so much it flew off the plate. I am still dreaming of those caramelized onions.
When our dinners arrived we had second thoughts – did we really need to order dinner after all that fresh bread and the huge platter? No – we didn’t, but our dishes smelled too good to put into boxes so quickly!
The Veggie Kabobs were nicely marinated and the stationary clove of garlic on each end was a pleasant end to the meal. The bed of rice the kabobs were served on could have fed four people! It contained small noodle pieces mixed into the lightly flavored rice. I kept trying to place the flavors and only came up with olive oil and lemon before I became too full to continue.
The Cabbage Rolls reminded me of an Italian dish with a red sauce poured over them. These cute little rolls were stuffed with a lightly flavored rice and chickpeas. I would have preferred a stronger taste to the filling but the large kidney bean shaped dish of tahini helped to add more flavor to the rolls.
Over all, the food and service at Arabian Breeze is delightful. They have many food choices, enough to make everyone in your party happy – vegan or not. The only down side is the price, with most dishes over $10 it makes sense to visit for the great meal-like appetizers and enjoy their fresh bread. Or, if you’re someone who likes to eat out once a week and dine on the left overs, Arabian Breeze’s portion sizes has you covered.
Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Address: 3223 NE Broadway, Portland OR
Hours: Mon – Thurs 11am – 9pm; Fri – Sat 11am – 11pm; Sun 12pm – 9pm