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lunch in Balto: something like Mezze or Helmand?

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I really wanted to take my DC colleagues to either Mezze or Helmand to lunch today. Of course, neither place is open for lunch.

What *is* open for lunch, that serves quality Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or other ethnic food?

No hole-in-the-wall types of places, please. A nice ambiance is also desired.

I am blanking on potential replacements!

We will be driving so can go just about anywhere.

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  1. Samos is an option, but not sure if they are open...they take an annual vacation around this time of year...so maybe a phone call early to check it out.

    http://www.samosrestaurant.com/

    1. Lebanese Taverna -- beautiful place and downtown.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lawhound

        There's a Lebanese Taverna in DC. Want to give them something they can't get in DC.

        Any other ideas?

      2. There's a middle eastern restaurant near the harbor on N Charles that was actually really nice, cheap and tasty. They advertise bellydancing in the Citypaper. The name escapes me...

        edit: Cazbar http://www.cazbarbaltimore.com/

        I guess it's too late. oh well.

        1. We ended up at Ze Mean Bean at the request of one of the guests.

          It was pretty empty, so it was nice and low-key. Still, it took a good 30 minutes to get our borsht, followed by our pierogies about 5 minutes later. The borsht was very different than what you'd get in former Soviet countries, but quite tasty. Tons of beets, and very flavorful mushrooms. Great, flavorful broth, and a huge dollop of sour cream to mix in.

          The pierogies (potato, kraut) were sauteed with a crisp exterior, and topped with fried/sauteed onions. Also served with a large piping of sour cream. The filling could have used a bit more salt and butter, but other than that they were great.

          Their iced tea had a very off taste to me. Maybe it was a flavored tea, but I didn't like it at all.

          Service was smooth, if a bit on the relaxed side. Don't know how their kitchen would handle a full house, and am not about to test that out.