Monday, May 3, 2010
There are few things that excite me as much as finding a restaurant that doesn't charge a corking fee. And even though I've happily shelled out over $100 in corking fees here, I'm glad there are places where I can enjoy wine with my meal at no additional cost. Chef John Besh has the right idea by not charging a corking fee at his restaurants. Alcohol, after all, is merely an afterthought to great food. No one ever says "The food was terrible but the wine was so great, I'll definitely be back!" Point made? Good.
Needless to say, I've become increasingly interested in finding restaurants that charge little to nothing to cork a bottle of vino. But right now I only know of one restaurant that doesn't charge a fee at all, and that's Lebanon's Cafe on South Carrollton Avenue. Since ethnic food is something I'm often craving, I love that a trip to Lebanon is both delicious and cost-friendly (two people can easily fill up for under $30). We always start the meal with the Musaha, which is sautéed eggplant, roasted garlic, red, yellow & jalapeño peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, and celery that is marinated with olive oil and white vinegar. No tasteless veggies here! These vegetables are incredibly flavorful, and I especially like the combination of textures from the crunchy celery and soft eggplant. I spread mine on hot pita bread, sometimes with some Labna or Hummus, and it could easily become my entire meal. As far as entrees go, I particularly like the Chicken Shawarma because you get a generous amount of chicken, salad, and hummus (which you can substitute for rice if you want) for around $12. The dinner sandwiches are also great, especially the Luna Kabob (lamb), and they all cost between $6 and $7. With quick and friendly service, a menu full of variety, and no corking fee, Lebanon's Cafe makes a great dinner spot for first dates and big groups alike.
Can any of you suggest places that charge a small corking fee, or nothing at all?
Musaha: Sautéed eggplant, roasted garlic, red, yellow & jalapeño peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onions, and celery marinated with olive oil and white vinegar
Vegetarian grape leaves with hummus
Sautéed Vegetable Plate: Basmati rice topped with eggplant, onions, carrots, tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, red, yellow & green peppers and a layer feta and mozzarella cheese, then baked to a golden brown in the oven