FAST, CASUCAL LEBANESE CAFÉ
From restaurateur George Abou-Daoud (Bowery, Delancey, Rosewood Tavern), comes Urban Garden, a fast, casual, healthy and vegan friendly Lebanese cafe on Beverly Boulevard. While the neighborhood already has Open Sesame just down the street on Beverly, which is more of a sit-down restaurant with a full bar, Urban Garden is great as a quick option, yet still serving fresh and authentic Lebanese cuisine.
Serving locally sourced and locally grown produce and meats, as well as imported spices, this is real Mideast food. There is no dry falafel, nor hummus from a can. During our recent visit for lunch, we worked our way down the menu, tasting many of the tried and true, favorite dishes.
We started with an assortment of hummus, including Traditional Hummus with chickpeas and coriander; Spicy Hummus with chilies and market pickled peppers; and Savory Garlic Hummus with thyme-roasted garlic. One or all of these tasty delicacies is a great way to start any meal. I was really fond of the garlic hummus, as it has a kick and is a little different than the normal hummus we’re familiar with. The Babaganoush with fire roasted eggplant and Tahini is also another favorite menu item that’s great as a starter item.
If you’re looking for healthy options, the Tabouli with parsley, bulgar, tomato, onion, mint, lemon and olive oil over Romaine hearts is a terrific, fresh choice, as is the Falafel, and the vibrant salad with kale, roasted beets, quinoa, Soledad Farms goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette.
If you want hearty options, the wraps are huge (ample to share or a full meal on their own). The Falafel large pita with Romaine, tomato and onion dusted with herbs, Aleppo and sumac is fabulous, as is the Free-Range Chicken Shawarma with spice, Turmeric and garlic spread. Personally, I’m all about the Lamb Shawarma, as it’s so lean and fresh at Urban Garden. It’s a definite must-have dish.
Urban Garden is a terrific neighborhood gem if you’re looking for a quick (yet hearty) bite, or if you want lunch or dinner to go. There’s no fuss and yet you can count on your meal to be authentic and satisfying Mediterranean fare.
Urban Garden is located at 7563 Beverly Blvd. Open daily 11:30am to 10pm Call. 323-951-09909.
Story by Jose Martinez