Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jun 19, 2013 11:33 AM

Middle Eastern/Lebanese catering


I really need help with a party I'm throwing. I found a lebanese retaurant that can provide me the food but don't have a clue about portion sizes. Can someone take a look at this and give me an idea if this food will be enough for 55 standard adults? The get-together is only an hour long lunch so we aren't talking about folks coming back for 3rd and 4th servings

Tomato Bulgar 1 Tray
Rice & Lentil 1 Tray
Mousaka (Eggplant, chickpeas, onions, diced tojmatoes, garlic, mint & pomegranate juice) 1 Tray
Tabouli (finely chopped parseley, tomato, mint cracked wheat, lemon & olive oil) 1 Tray
Okra (Okra sauteed with cilantro, tomato, garlic & pomegranate juice) 1 Tray
Stuff Grape Leaves (hand rolled grape leaves with rice, chopped parsley, onions & tomato & lemon juice) 50 pcs
Falafel (served with tahini sauce on side) 50 pcs
Hummus with pita 3 lbs
1 bag of pita cut with each one cut into four pieces in a tray 1 bag
Baklava cut into small pieces 1 Tray
Rice Pudding with cinnamon and pistachio (rose water on the side) 1/2 Tray

Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is this going to be a sit-down party where guests will be seated with plates and silverware, or will guests be standing and chatting? I'm thinking if I have a glass of water/soda/tea in my hand, it will be hard to negotiate some of the foods if it's not sit-down.

    Also, just my opinion, I would omit a side (the bulgar or rice) and add kibbee, unless it needs to be vegetarian.

    1. First thing that comes to mind if you're having 55 adults - do you expect that there will a) be guests who won't want grape leaves or falafel and b) those who do want, will be happy with one/two?

      In general, I do think that it sounds like enough collectively - but only if you feel certain that a good number will totally bypass the grape leaves or falafel. Personally, I would double the grape leaves order and potentially nix the falafel option. Unless they serve a baked falafel - as a fried item in general, I don't think they're super awesome unless pretty quick from the fryer.

      1. 1) So glad I posted here. Also totally forgot. This is all required to be vegetarian (no meat, fish, eggs but dairy and milk is okay)

        2) The falafel balls would be consumed 45 mins after coming out from the fryer and the restaurant says they will stay warm in the aluminum container. What do you think?

        3) Guests will be standing and chatting. In fact, that brings about another question. There are 5 kids aged 5-8. Are they going to be okay standing and chatting? There are literally no chairs at this place and I'm taking my own square table to lay out the dishes

        4) Would it make sense to have 2-3 women from my family serve the guests or let them serve themselves? Some may not have greek food so think the former may be a good idea

        2 Replies
        1. re: eateat22

          Personally, I would say no to the falafel. To judge my opinion on this properly - I will admit that I've been living in Jerusalem for a while now. So I both access to very fresh excellent falafel. And a lot of dreadful falafel - and the bad is usually the result of it sitting for a while after frying.

          The local way that recently cooked falafel is in a paper bag - not aluminum/foil. Think about french fries, how well do you think they'd hold up in an aluminum dish for at least 45 minutes?

          I also think that as falafel is generally considered a popular item - so I'd still be concerned about having only 50 for 55 adults. I would also add that this menu is screaming for lane/yogurt condiment. The tomato-bulgar, and rice-lentil could really be enhanced with that.

          1. re: eateat22

            You may need to think about how you'll handle the children. I can guarantee that they will run around, especially if there are no chairs, and unless you're sure their parents will keep them under control, you might have to bring in a small table and kid size chairs to accommodate them.

            Oh, and I think it's fine to serve falafel because people probably expect it. Unless your guests have lived in Israel and had access to great falafel, even 45 minutes-ago falafel is okay if it's well prepared to begin with (made with soaked chickpeas rather than canned, for example). I'd rather have yummy fried falafel than baked, any day, even if it's not just out of the fryer.

          2. There are a lot of grains here but few "mains." People may leave full, but you may also have people missing out on the grape leaves and falafel. Tomato bulgur and tabbouleh seem duplicative to me. I would eliminate one and perhaps double up on the grape leaves or falafel). Were it me, I might suggest subbing a crunchy fattoush for one of the grain salads and doing spinach pies or fried cauliflower in lieu of the falafel. Speaking from experience, catering trays usually arrive sealed and the falafel is never that great after steaming for 45 minutes.

            I don't know how many pitas come in one bag, but at my bakery it's 6 pitas per bag. You might want to triple up to give everyone some bread for the hummus.

            1. Instead of taking out the mousaka, is it okay taking out the rice & lentils? Also, I can ask the restaurant if they do baked falafel because I know some guests love falafel and do 75 pieces of grape leaves & falafel each

              1 Reply
              1. re: eateat22

                Middle Eastern moussaka and okra are both saucy stews. You want rice to accompany them, although some people eat moussaka with bread. If you omit the rice, you will definitely want a separate tray of pita to serve with the okra and moussaka.