Lebanese in the North Valley at Mashawi
My first visit to family-owned Mashawi Lebanese Grill wasn't planned. We were doing errands in the area when I noticed the sign. I love Lebanese cuisine, so of course I had to stop to check it out and pick up a menu. After reading through, however, I left with more than the menu and ordered chicken kofta (ground chicken kabobs seasoned with parsley, onion and garlic served with garlic sauce) and kibbeh (a crispy bulgur wheat shell filled with ground spiced beef) to go. One of my favorite elusive Lebanese dishes is kibbeh nayyeh made with raw lamb, pureed onion, bulgur wheat, and seasonings. Think a Lebanese lamb tartare but smooth with texture from the bulgur. Although it wasn't on the menu, I was told they could make it next time if I called ahead. Wonderful!
While I waited, the nice owner/father sent me out some some complimentary hummous, describing it as "the best because it was just made" and a "family recipe". Such a welcoming gesture. It was excellent - creamy, not grainy as some can be, with a bright hit of fresh lemon and a mild balance of tahini and garlic. Back home, the chicken kofta was juicy and flavorful, and the kibbeh is now one of my usual orders.
On my next visit, I pre-ordered the kibbeh nayyeh to share with friends. It was a perfect texture with a nice lamb to bulgur ratio, no sinew, smooth and buttery. I'll definitely make plans to have it again. The family has always been hospitable and friendly, though I'm overdue for a visit.
Falafel, baba ganoush, and hummous; tabouli; warak arish (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves with tahini sauce), kibbeh nayyeh; chicken kofta and kibbeh; shish kafta (ground beef and lamb kabobs):
The address for Mashawi Lebanese Grill is 814 E. Union Hills Drive, #6, Phoenix, AZ 85024. Hours are 11 am to 9 pm seven days a week, and they offer delivery within 5 miles. Tel: 623-879-6777.