Tarboush Comes to Hawthorne

tarbouchextLast night we popped into Tarboush, the new Lebanese restaurant on SE Hawthorne, which opened this past Thursday in the beautiful Victorian that Belly Timber vacated in May.

Inside, not much has changed–the intricate burnished bronze wallpaper, dark wood tables, and antique bar are intact, although there’s now a flat screen television in the bar area streaming Lebanese music videos, which are engrossing, lilting tales teeming with smoldering glances and swinging hair. We had the elegant front room nearly to ourselves, the one other couple in the front room were both silently reading thick science fiction paperbacks while they plowed through plates of thyme-coated Shanklish cheese and homemade Soudjouk sausage.

This being our second dinner of the evening, and a testing of new restaurant waters, we ate light. I ordered the Tarboush Signature Mezza, which came with a chicken skewer and a kafta skewer over buttery basmati rice, pools of housemade hummus and baba ghannouj and a fragrant mound of tabbouleh. Everything was noticeably fresh, the meat was well-seasoned and very tender, and the baba ghannouj was slightly chunky and smoky-delicious.

tarboushmezza

A basket with two freshly-baked pitas arrived just after we ordered, along with small bowls of olive oil and a mixture of dried thyme and sesame seeds, which we fashioned into a paste for dipping the warm bread.

tarboushpita

The wine list is mostly stocked with California wines, but has a selection of five Lebanese wines from the Bekaa Valley. The restaurant’s got a full bar, four Oregon breweries on tap (Widmer, Ninkasi, Laurelwood, and Terminal Gravity), and Almaza, a bottled Lebanese beer. Non-buzzy drinks include Jallab and mulberry juice with pine nuts, labyan ayran and orange blossom lemonade.

This technically being summer despite the uncooperative weather, it’s worth noting that the restaurant has retained the two original outdoor seating areas–the first floor veranda and the patio below, and has also added a large new terrace beneath the freestanding sign at SE 32nd & Hawthorne.

tarboushsign