Aladdin Cafe--Middle Eastern Cuisine in Hopewell Junction (Heritage Square on Rt. 52)
I read about this place in the Poughkeepsie Journal (http://bit.ly/jzpm1k) and decided to stop by yesterday evening. There is casual cafe style seating in the front and a more comfortable space in the back complete with cushions and candles. The owner was more than happy to explain the various dishes and desserts, which was great since I'm not that familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine.
I just had a chance to try the baklava and the sahlab. I really enjoyed the baklava. It was stuffed with ground nuts and had a nice touch of spice...somewhat similar to cinnamon. It's not as sweet or gooey as the Greek version, but I'm more than okay with that. I was curious about the sahlab, which turned out to be a hot milky drink that's topped with crushed pistachios, cinnamon, and coconut (see pic). It was quite good and very aromatic.
I'm planning to stop by in the near future and try some of the other dishes like their falafel and hummus. The chicken shwarma also sounded great. I haven't had a shwarma since my city days a decade ago. The prices were pretty reasonable ranging from $2 for a kibbie to $24.99 for the shish kabob combo.
Aladdin Cafe's online menu:
I did takeout today and really enjoyed my meal. As I mentioned earlier, I am not well-versed in Middle Eastern cuisine at all, so bear with me.
I ordered hummus, a chicken schwarma (which contained chicken, peppers, saffron, lettuce, tomato, pickles and tahini sauce), and the sahlab. The hummus was excellent. Great texture, really delicious. It came with half a pita, which I would have preferred warm, but the hummus made up for it. The schwarma was excellent. I don't really like pickles, but all of the flavors worked really well together. I've had schwarmas in NYC before, so I was a little surprised to see that it was folded like a burrito and pressed like a panini. I was expecting something that looked like a gyro. The schwarma was excellent. The tahini sauce had a bit of a kick that was too much for me, so I just ate it plain. My DH tried a bit with the sauce and said it was great. The sahlab is sitting next to me as I write, but I'm going to have it later. I got it last time and liked it a lot, so I'm expected more of the same. My meal cost about $14. It was pouring rain tonight, so I just ran in and got my food, but the service was as prompt and courteous as last time. It's a great place to pick up a delicious meal, especially when you don't feel like cooking on a rainy day.