Date: December 21, 2007
Times Visited: 1
Stumptown Vegans could rank their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in Portland in terms of falafel, hummus, baba ganouj and pita bread. Piping hot, steaming, fluffy pita when you’re hungry is our reason to go to Hoda’s and Arabian Breeze. The promise of crispy falafel in 5 minutes or less brings us to Hush Hush. The hummus at Nicholas’, and the baba ganouj at Ya Hala are the best ones we’ve had in town. So where does Al Amir fit in?
The atmosphere was nice and quiet with a few tables up front, and only a trio of tables being used in the main dining room in the back. It was a cold, rainy day and the basket of steaming pita almost seemed to good to be true. And it was. Underneath the wax paper was pita that was certainly not made on premises, and certainly not made that day, and probably only knew life inside plastic. It was pita you can buy at the store, even the regular grocery store, and what’s the fun of that? It was chewy, and was a vehicle for hummus in hunger, but that’s stating the obvious.
One Stumptown Vegan ordered the veggie kabob with hummus (available with hummus or a side of rice, $8), which was literally one kabob of grilled onion, pepper, cauliflower and tomato, garnished with a lot of chopped parsley. The tomato had turned to mush, and made us wonder how it made it from the grill to plate. The red pepper was a nice blend of sweet and grilled, and we’ve yet to go wrong with grilled cauliflower. The large portion of hummus was positively creamy and fluffy, but nothing to go back for. It was not a meal to remember.
The falafel was as dry as the pita it was wrapped in. There wasn’t much of anything to bring the flavor out. The pita was dry, the falafel may have been good but chewing required concentration on not choking on dry food, so it was unforgettable. The best thing about the dish was the way we Stumptown Vegans share. Without added a dollop of hummus to every bite, it wouldn’t have even worked out. For $5 one would be able to get a fresher tasting falafel at a cart, even going to Dreamer’s would have given me some fries with my meal.
It’s an okay place to go for Lebanese vegan options when downtown with omnivores, but there’s better, like Habibi and our favorite, Hush Hush.
Veggie Kabob and hummus
Rating: 2 out of 5
Address: 223 SW Stark St Portland, OR 97204
Lunch Hours: Monday – Friday 11:00am – 2:30pm
Dinner Hours: Monday – Thursday 4:30pm – 9:00pm
Friday – Saturday 4:30pm – 12:00am
Sunday 4:30pm – 9:00pm