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Excellent Middle Eastern Food in Uptown Charlotte at last

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hazardnc Nov 12, 2011 06:13 AM

The SO and I had lunch at Levant, which recently opened in the Duke Energy building. They have created an upscale spot that specializes in dishes from the Eastern Mediterranean. The decor features heavily carved wood tables and chairs inlaid with mother of pearl. The wait staff is very attentive.

The lunch menu features the same wraps you can find at their other location, Kabob Grill. In addition, they have several options for vegetarians. I am a total sucker for kibbe, but on this visit, I wanted to sample as many dishes as possible, so I opted for the veggie plate. This allowed me to choose five sides: falafel, yalanji (stuffed grape leaves), potato harrara, tabouli and mjuddara, which is a poor man's dish of lentils and rice topped with sautéed onions. The SO had the lamb shawarma, and we had to try the fouls madamas, which is a dish of stewed fava beans and chickpeas with a distinct lemony garlic dish.

I am no food writer, so I will just state that everything was very good. Their falafel is some of the best I have ever tasted. The flavor of the cilantro and spices is present, and they are light and crisp. The mjuddara is something we make at home all they time and they do a fine job, but a bit of yogurt would be a nice touch. Their grape leaves were also delicious and served warm. The SO loves their schwarma at the Kabob Grill and he was not disappointed with the version at Levant.

We are definitely going back. At $10 for the wrap, which includes fries, their prices compete with Dean and Deluca, etc. The vegetable plate costs $13, but was a very generous serving and could easily sub as a mezzo platter to serve two or more. Looking forward to trying the fattoush and kibbe next lunch. The dinner menu is much more ambitious (and pricey!) attempt a fusion, with dishes like fattoush topped with fried calamari, lamb chops seasoned with zaatar, mekanek (lamb sausages) and lahajeen, which are a sort of Arabic pizza...pita topped with lamb seasoned with Aleppo pepper and toasted pine nuts.

The location is on The Avenue of the Arts across from the Knight Theater, so it would be a perfect pre or post concert destination.

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Kabob Grill
1235 East Blvd Ste G, Charlotte, NC 28203

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