Just wanted to say tried Damas on Parc and Fairmount yesterday and had a fabulous meal! Highlights were pretty much everything but in particular the veal tongue was PHENOMENAL! Extremely tender and flavorful unlike anything i have had before. Also the Kebbe tartar version was delicious. An honorable mention too for the Fattouch salad and the Specialty dishes. The different textures in each of the dishes was really amazing. The wait staff also seemed enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the cuisine which was great. I was surprised to find out that Kaza Maza and Damas have no relationship as I had otherwise heard. Apparently the chef at Damas used to be and KM but left and opened a new resto and needless to say the relationship is well ...non existent now. I might still need to try KM just to see.
Will definately go to Damas again! I do suggest anyone interested should try it. I have leftovers and I cannot wait to dig into them today!
Well it's perhaps the only one that attempts a lot of labour-intensive regional dishes that are the staple of Syrian cuisine, as opposed to a menu limited to grilled meats and mezzes (like say at Alep).
The fattehs are one family of specialties from Damascus that are well-represented. Damas' fattet makdous is one typical dish you won't find in many (any?) other middle eastern restaurants, eggplants stuffed with ground meat in tomato sauce over toasted bread soaked with tahini yogurt (combination a bit similar to that in İskender kebab), and they do it quite well.
I was a bit disappointed in the frikeh, which was a little bit watery, but my standards as a native are pretty high. Frikeh or freekeh is green whole wheat kernels harvested in spring and fire-roasted by hand with blowtorches to preserve it and impart it with a wonderful smoky flavor. It's prepared and served a bit like rice or bulgur, with toasted nuts (pine or almonds) as a base for meat (roast lamb or poached chicken, in which case it is prepared with chicken broth).
Frikeh is one of the largely undiscovered treasures of Levantine terroir, it has made some inroads in Australia (which has a large expat community and a wheat-growing tradition) but not much beyond. Much tastier than quinoa or other whole-wheat grains. Here is a bit more background from an Australian source:
the food at damas is not only delicious, but stunning in its beauty! i didn't know that damas and kaza maza are no longer affiliated. i've only been to kaza maza once after damas opened and the food was still good, but we had issues with the service. i will still return for the food though.