A beautiful building renovation and patio construction are just about complete at the northeast corner of Kirkwood Road and Jefferson Avenue. Ranoush, a Middle Eastern restaurant, with another location in The Loop, is scheduled to open its doors to the Kirkwood restaurant scene Friday.
The menu will not vary much from The Loop location. Traditional Middle Eastern fare will be served with from a Syrian perspective. Cold mezza, or appetizers, include: hummus; baba ganoush, a mixture of eggplant, tahini and lemon; and moutabal, a Syrian specialty of eggplant, with red and green peppers. Hot mezza is also available with choices varying from falafel to arayes, a pita stuffed with spicy ground beef and roasted pine nuts.
Kirkwood-Webster Groves Patch also tried the zattar bread as an appetizer. Zattar is a traditional Middle Eastern spice combination of sumac and seasame seeds. It was sprinkled on some pita which was then grilled and served warm, delicious. I think the best way to experience Middle Eastern food is to order a selection of mezza to share with the table.
Main courses may also seem familiar from Lebanese or Greek restaurants. Chicken tawuk is a skewer of grilled chicken. It is served with a Syrian salad and rice. The Syrian salad is a lettuce, tomato and mint mixture with a lemon and olive oil dressing, and it was a pleaser. Beef and chicken shawarma is grilled meat, chopped and stuffed into a pita with garlic sauce, lettuce and tomato, a very traditional Middle Eastern dish. Many vegetarian options are available as well.
For dessert, do not miss the baklawa (more commonly spelled baklava). This sweet nut and phyllo dough treat is a great way to cap off your meal. Consider a kahwa as well, Arabic coffee that is rich and bold as espresso. Kahwa can be flavored with cinnamon, cardamom or rosewater if desired.
We predict Ranoush is going to be a crowd pleaser. An ideal addition to the Kirkwood food scene while fixing up a dreary corner in the process.