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Lebanese Butcher...i dont get it

c
CoconutMilk Jun 10, 2009 06:10 AM

I've been twice now and I still don't get the hype. The best thing I've had is the fried kibbeh. The lamb shawarma is too salty and they have crappy pita bread to boot. What's so great about this place?

  1. ktmoomau Jun 11, 2009 06:33 AM

    I too think different places have different strengths. The chicken and garlic sauce at Lebanese Taverna Market and some of their mezze are really good. I think the quality and freshness of the lamb at the Lebanese Butcher is superior to other places and therefore the lamb schwarma and lamb ouzi are really good there along with the stuffed grape leaves which I really like here better than Lebanese Taverna Market. I think pita at the Lebanese Taverna is superior (the restaurant not the market) not as good as Zaytinya who makes some of the best pita made in house (I should go to Me Janna they are supposed to have stolen the chef who was in charge of that pita but it is a little pricier for Lebanese). I need to get to Laylinia it is right around the corner. I also want to go to the place Ericandblueboy discussed on another thread not in NOVA that he said had a huge selection of mezze. I believe it was Lebanese. I also really like the Pita House in Old Town which doesn't have spectacular pita, but the rest is very good and it is nice and reasonably priced for sit down and their sausage is good.

    Many people don't like Lebanese Butcher for various reasons and the people who like it really like it... but that's how it goes.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ktmoomau
      e
      Ericandblueboy Jun 11, 2009 08:31 AM

      Bacchus of Lebanon in Bethesda.

      1. re: Ericandblueboy
        alkapal Jun 12, 2009 03:29 AM

        is bacchus of lebanon the resto related to the former bacchus on jefferson place downtown (which was the premier lebanese place in dc metro a few years ago...)? i know that at the same time as downtown bacchus operated, there was a sister "bacchus" in bethesda, but i don't think it was called "bacchus of lebanon."

        the one downtown had terrific kibbeh nayeh.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/333826

        1. re: alkapal
          c
          comestibles Jun 12, 2009 05:33 AM

          Originally, the downtown Bacchus had a sister location in Bethesda, also called Bacchus. When the Bacchuses closed, a new owner took over the Bethesda location, remodeled it and renamed it Bacchus of Lebanon (and kept the same menu). I loved the original Bacchus in DC.

    2. z
      Ziv Jun 11, 2009 05:32 AM

      Coconutmilk, sorry to hear that it isn't to your taste, everything is subjective but I love the place. The ouzi, the shawarmas, lamb is best, the kibbeh, all are excellent. Pita is so so.
      I will admit that Layalina may be a bit better for a few dishes, but I can afford to grab a lunch at the Butcher anytime, and I can only afford Layalina occasionally.
      I eat at the Lebanese Taverna at least once a week, their Mezza plates at the Lee Hwy store are outstanding! The foule, the mousakka, baba ganouj, white bean salad, tabouleh, and their pita is ok too.
      And, I too, have a Lebanese buddy, and his favorite is,,,, Pines of Jerusalem for the buffet and Lebanese butcher for the shawarma, and Layalina for a dinner with his wife.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Ziv
        Dennis S Jun 11, 2009 06:06 AM

        Note that the different locations of Leb Tav are different in quality. I've lost track - I liked the one on Wash in Arlington the best but I haven't even been to it in years now.

        1. re: Dennis S
          i
          Indy 67 Jun 11, 2009 06:34 AM

          I think it's still the best and with good reason: founding papa and heir apparent work nightly in that branch.

        2. re: Ziv
          alkapal Jun 11, 2009 06:20 AM

          pines of jerusalem is over by bailey's crossroads? in that strip mall perpendicular to rte.7 near the old "joe's pizza and pasta" building?

          1. re: alkapal
            z
            Ziv Jun 12, 2009 06:04 AM

            It is at 3405 Payne Street, which is around 5860 Leesburg Pike, east of Duangrats by a hundred yards, and it is in the strip mall you are talking about.

            http://www.insiderpages.com/b/1523810...

            Side note on Lebanese Taverna, the big chunk of rotating shawarma meat fell on the floor one time I was there because it hadn't been secured properly. It fell with a huge clatter, staff scattered as the metal spit just missed cutting two of them and it was overall mayhem for a second or two. The son came out, took charge and asked all of his staff if they were burned or cut by the spit, had two of them "throw it out" and had the place cleaned up and running in a minute or two, all without yelling about how stupid it was to not secure the spit properly when they put the meat in the rotating hotbox. I thought it showed a lot of class not to chew them out up one side and down the other for ruining meat and generally messing up big time. He may have done so later, but he did it in private, which is good management and the sign of good people, in my opinion. I like the food, and the family.

            1. re: Ziv
              alkapal Jun 12, 2009 06:07 AM

              ziv, thanks for the location tip. we've wondered about that jerusalem cafe as we've driven by. will check out the food!

              ps., at leb tav, did you actually *see* them *throw it out*?

              1. re: alkapal
                z
                Ziv Jun 12, 2009 06:22 AM

                That was why I put the guys statement in quotes, he said to throw it out, but I don't doubt that he had second thoughts after he cleared up the mess. A cafes profit margin is very thin. I imagine he was tempted to trim off the outer layer and serve it later, but I don't know. But he didn't leave the work area to keep the guys from trashing it and he did treat his people well, and after one of them had messed up a pretty simple task of securing the rotating spit.

                1. re: Ziv
                  alkapal Jun 12, 2009 06:36 AM

                  are you talking the market or the resto (i can't recall if there is a spit at the resto)? their margins *may* be thin, but those folks are defintely making some dough (and i ain't talkin' pita!). smart lebanese!

                  1. re: alkapal
                    z
                    Ziv Jun 12, 2009 06:49 AM

                    The Market on Lee, they work hard for their money and they supply a pretty good product, consistently, over a long period of time. That is tough to do. And I do hope they make plenty of dough, pita and otherwise!
                    ;-)
                    I want my favorite places to stick around, not go out of business or start to sell inferior product.

        3. s
          Steve Jun 10, 2009 02:09 PM

          I am addicted to the chicken shawarma sandwich - stellar. But I have had success with the lamb shawarma, baba ganouj, fettoush salad, min-sausages, kibbe, etc. Sorry you dodn't like the lamb shawarma, but I am in there just about every week for a chicken shawarma sandwich, and it it consistently great.

          1. Dennis S Jun 10, 2009 09:53 AM

            I've really liked it - along with some Leb friends, but I haven't been in awhile. The spicy sausages are good (forget the name at the moment).

            I've posted a couple of times on this, and not followed up myself. Apparently, my Leb friends have said there's yet another market and restaurant on the backside of that building the Butcher is in.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dennis S
              e
              Ericandblueboy Jun 10, 2009 10:13 AM

              My wife's Lebanese hairdresser says Layalina is the best and there's no close second. I have no idea what connection, if any, he has to Layalina. One of these days we're gonna go check out Layalina.

              1. re: Ericandblueboy
                Dennis S Jun 10, 2009 12:39 PM

                That's what I've gathered as well. And even though I believe a neighbor is the owner, I've not been yet. But the two experiences (from what I gather re: Layalina) are in different places on the spectrum. Sort of like a nice Mexican place vs. a taco truck. Both are good for specific reasons.

                I'll try to check out the statement about the place BEHIND the Butcher come this Friday. Do my Houndly duty.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy
                  c
                  cabster Jun 10, 2009 01:18 PM

                  That's funny. My hairdresser (who is Lebanese) prefers Lebanese Taverna!

              2. s
                Sean D Jun 10, 2009 09:31 AM

                Maybe they should change the name. "Butcher" sounds so belligerent. lol

                1. c
                  cabster Jun 10, 2009 08:50 AM

                  I agree. I am not a fan, but I adore Lebanese Taverna. I know they're very different from each other, but Lebanese Butcher's food seems quite ordinary.

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