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New Lebanese restaurant in Pittsfield, MA

m
mjoyous Mar 23, 2010 11:46 AM

I ate at Effendi's Oasis on upper North St. last week. Was there for lunch with a friend and found it a very pleasant and appealing spot. Nicely renovated inside (was a dive pizza place before) with linens and decent silverware,
The chef is very proud of his establishment, and speaks openly about a mid-life health crisis that caused him to change careers, getting a culinary degree at BCC then moving on to the CIA for an executive chef certificate. He is committed to healthy, homemade fresh food. Unfortunately, that means nothing is fried. His recipes are based on healthy updates of traditional food with which he grew up, using a 100 year old cookbook.
We started with some very fresh tabbouleh with lettuce leaves. It was light, not too heavy on the parsley, and very tasty. He then brought out some of his homemade lebon, which was excellent. Rather sweeter than most yogurt lebon I've tried, with chunks of cucumber and a very light taste. We ate it up so quickly he brought us more!
My companion & I split 2 lunches. The baked eggplant was very flavorful: oven baked, served chopped with tomatoes, pine nuts, feta and olives. Again, rather sweet (are you sensing a theme here?) but very appealing. The other dish was falafel, and this is where I missed the frying. I had expected he would saute them, but they were oven baked and very dry. That said, the taste was delightful, but it lost on the texture. I'm not that pure.
I wanted to try the baklava for dessert, though my companion insisted she was too full. An order ($2.75) of 2 large triangles of baklava arrived, which the waitress claimed was the standard size. I'm happy to report my friend indulged (and finished hers first!) The filling was fresh chopped walnuts and spices, not too dry but not drenched in honey or butter. Phyllo was crunchy, but not as buttery as I prefer (must be the health thing again.)
Prices are very reasonable. Lunch includes 7 & 11" pizzas on ww dough or flat bread, sandwiches and lots of salads. Lunches range from $5-8.
I'll definitely be back to try more. A very pleasant spot if you're in the Pitt and looking for a healthy alternative or something new.

  1. s
    spicehandler Apr 14, 2010 11:10 AM

    Stopped by this place yesterday late afternoon. Looks really dive'y from the outside but the inside is very clean and the food was excellent. Asked the chef what he had ready to go... He had me sit and eat pita with two different kinds of hummus while I waited - tomato with a perfect hint of fresh garlic and his special green herb hummus which he said he won an award for at CIA - delish! And for six dollars he gave me an assortment of stuffed grape leaves, cabbage rolls -yum - tabbouleh (SO fresh), baked eggplant chunks (meh), leben (good) whole wheat pita bread, more of the 2 kinds of hummus....just finished the leftovers for lunch. As the original poster said, he's a very health conscious chef. I didn't get the complaint about the dishes being "too sweet" but he does tend to go very easy on the fat/oil. I'll definitely return to try the grilled lamb and the lebanese pizzas...

    7 Replies
    1. re: spicehandler
      m
      mjoyous Apr 14, 2010 12:49 PM

      Let us know what you think of the pizza. I haven't been back yet, but the grilled lamb was on my radar.

      1. re: spicehandler
        t
        terrierboy Jun 26, 2011 02:00 PM

        We were all set to finally try Effendi's Oasis, but it seems to have closed. The past few weeks, it has looked dark and empty, save for turned over chairs. Does anyone know what happened? I'm so sorry we were too late to try what sounds like good food.

        1. re: terrierboy
          y
          yeshana Jul 14, 2011 05:18 PM

          ok. so I am trying to read about all of the "new restaurants in Pittsfield"that are being talked about by locals in area. They say that Pittsfield is now a hotspot for food?

          Seems as if every post I read is from 2010 and lots of places no longer open. Please, are the locals wrong?

          1. re: yeshana
            l
            Lenox637 Jul 15, 2011 06:01 AM

            you are probably checking older threads, as far as places in Pittsfield to try....... Brix Wine Bar, Mission Tapas, La Fogata, Spice Dragon. There are fantastic restaurants a short drive from downtown Pittsfield as well. Mezze Bistro and Mill on the Floss north of town. Bistro Rouge, Once Upon a Table, Wheatleigh Inn, Old Inn on the Green, Allium, John Andrews Farm Kitchen south of town to name a few.

            -----
            Mezze Bistro + Bar
            777 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA 01267

            Wheatleigh
            11 Hawthorne Road, Lenox, MA

            John Andrew's Restaurant
            RR 23, North Egremont, MA 01252

            Brix Wine Bar
            40 West St, Pittsfield, MA 01201

            1. re: Lenox637
              y
              yeshana Jul 15, 2011 09:44 AM

              any suggestions for hangout spots for an 18 and a 15 yr. old girl? They can't seem to find kids their age when in the Berks with us. It's a lot of elderly and then young families. I know some parents still take their teens with them for travel. this is the first weekend we are not taking their friends so it's the sisters together on the prowl socially. Any resto's for them? Our house is in Stockbdge.

          2. re: terrierboy
            t
            terrierboy Jan 30, 2012 03:02 PM

            Update: About a month ago, Effendi's was officially replaced by the previous restaurant, Piece O' Pizza. How very sad!

            1. re: terrierboy
              s
              spicehandler Jan 30, 2012 04:36 PM

              What? You don't like alliteration? ;-p

        2. cowgirlinthesand Mar 24, 2010 06:21 AM

          Hey MJ - check out today's food section of the Berkshire Eagle!
          I'd be his biggest fan if he'd consider frying his falafel.
          I have an aversion to sweet food unless it's part of dessert, but I may still give tthem a try.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cowgirlinthesand
            m
            mjoyous Mar 24, 2010 03:39 PM

            Saw todays article, hope it brings some business his way. He's trying really hard.

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