Me Jana, Lebanese in Arlington
Had occasion to be in Arlington recently and stopped in at Me Jana for supper. It was a weeknight on the early side and it was not crowded.
They immediately brought out a basket of warm bread and a little plate with olives, olive oil, labneh (strained yogurt), and za’atar for sprinkling. I ordered a bottle of the 2002 Chateau Kefraya (Lebanese) – a blend of 72% cabernet sauvignon and several Rhone varietals. It was terrific. Not for nothing did the French run that country for so many years.
The menu features a variety of traditional mezze so I decided to go that route rather than pick a main plate. This turned out to be a good choice. I started with a traditional fattoush of tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onion, and pita chips, tossed with lemon juice, oil, and sumac. This was a substantial start and easily could have fed two. Tasty, too.
Three additional mezze rounded out the meal. First was a bowl of makanek (Lebanese sausages). On the side was an order of minty zucchini fritters, served on yogurt with chopped tomatoes and a watercress garnish, as well as an order of eggplant fatteh – baby eggplant scooped out and sautéed with yogurt, chickpeas, pine nuts, mint, and sumac. The sausages were fine although not outstanding, but I really enjoyed the two veggie dishes. This filled me up and then some, so there was no room for anything else.
The service was attentive bordering on overbearing. My opinion was queried on every plate, which was a bit much.
If you’re looking for innovation, Me Jana might not be the best choice. But I found it to provide solid execution of traditional dishes with good service and reasonable prices. I would certainly go back.