My husband and I recently had the opportunity to join Jason and Rachel Perlow at Tabboule Fine Lebanese Cuisine in Ridgewood, NJ. Tabboule offers fine Lebanese cuisine in a casual, comfortable setting. Parking for the restaurant is easy and plentiful, as the restaurant is located in the Kings Shopping Center on N. Maple Ave.
We began our mid-day marathon eating session with traditional Lebanese Za’atar Chips. Rich with spices of thyme, sesame and sumac, very savory, very addicitive! Red Lentil soup accompanied the chips, and Rachel had the fabulous idea to sprinkle some crumbled Za’atar chips on the soup. It was perfect; like Saltines in chicken noodle soup - only much better!
Next the cold appetizers arrived tabbouleh, hummus, babaghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, and muhamara.
The tabboule was more parsley than bulgar, and verdant, crisp, and delicious! The classic middle Eastern salad is not only among the most healthy salads you could eat- there’s actually a Tabbouleh diet - but also among the most flavorful.
The hummus was divinely creamy, and notably superior to that at other Mediterranean restaurants. The babaganoush was also very balanced and smooth; the squeeze of lemon brightened the roasted eggplant and garlic perfectly. The grape leaves were tender, and the richly pigmented muhamara was wonderfully addictive with a sweet and spicy profile that kept me going back for more.
Then the wave of hot appetizers began! The falafel, another Lebanese classic, with chick peas and fava were a bit bland. The Spinach pies followed, which I thought were also lacking a bit in flavor and texture. I found the rich and savory Kibbe, a crispy fried shell filled with ground beef, pine nuts and onions to be far preferable to the falafel. The phool was smooth and well seasoned.
Then, the cigars arrived! Without a doubt, these tubular staples of the Mediterranean menu were satisfying in a nearly hedonistic way. Their golden, crispy, flaky crust bid your teeth: “bite me, bite me!” And when you do submit, and crunch your teeth in, your tongue is met with the most creamy and smooth mixture of cheese and titillated with subtle hints of mint and parsley. Just heavenly!
Finally, as if we had any room left in our already full stomachs, a mixed grill platter arrived with a variety of Lebanese grilled mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, shrimp, Kefta Kebab, chicken and lamb/beef shawerma.
All in all, the mushrooms and the shrimp were the stars of the platter. The shrimp grilled with a traditional Lebanese chili sauce were phenomenal! And the mushrooms were so flavorful and perfectly spiced they’d be sure to satisfy even the most hardcore carnivore. The chicken shawerma, which is all white meat, was a bit on the dry side.
We wrapped up our meal with powerful Turkish coffee and baklava.
Tabboule offers dine-in, take-out and catering options.