What can I say? A perfectly lovely evening out.
Hubs and I landed over at the Phoenician via our good friend's birthday. And I could not be happier that we did.
The interior is QUITE the departure from La Casita-- sumptuous fabrics draped from the ceiling, moroccan lanterns, rhythmic middle eastern musc playing in the background against sensuously deep red walls.
Naji, the owner, is the consumate host. He took such excellent care of us during this visit. We also got alot of good insight as to how this place came into being. He had thought about opening a Lebanese place for a very long time, but just didn't get around to it. He almost sold La Casita! (As fate would have it, there were no buyers!) He actually helped his sister open her own Lebanese restaurant a while back and upon her passing it was almost like she had passed the torch to him to take care of Richmond and their growing taste for Lebanese cuisine.
And take care of us, he has! The hummus is seriously to die for, I asked immediately upon tasting it if they did take out-- I could just eat this for dinner! (And for the record, they do!) Fab. Baba Ganouj, sprinkled w/pomegranate seeds (which are hard to find this time of year!) I had the chicken shawarma grill (you can also have it in a pita as a sandwich) and most of our table had the mixed grilled.
The spices on the chicken combined with the accompanying tsatsiki is mind boggling. One friend had the special roast chicken and potatos. He was silent the whole meal which is a good sign that it was delicious! The guys at the table also had a Lebanese beer, Almana, which I had a taste of-- very smooth and rich without being too hoppy. Definitely worth a try for all you beer drinkers out there. The girls had the Pinot Grigio on the wine menu, which was perfect with dinner.
We wrapped up our meal with dessert, which consisted of: tiramisu, baklava and a type of "cheese pie"-- couldn't tell you the type of cheese. But, I can tell you my hubs enhaled his! So, that alone touts success!
All in all, I am so pleased with our visit and would recommend the Phoenician to anyone. It's a trip to the exotic and a treat for the senses without really having to leave your back yard. We love you Naji!