Gift cards are now available for online purchase. Buy a new card, recharge an old one, or check your balance.
Gift cards are now available for online purchase.
Healthful culinary adventure at Aladdin’s

Healthful culinary adventure at Aladdin’s

Be not afraid of giving Aladdin’s Eatery a try, even if you don’t know falafel from kibbie, or shawarma from baba gannouj.
The knowledgeable staff at this Lebanese-American chain restaurant, which opened in November at The Strip, is eager to casually explain the menu items, their preparation and their ingredients.
Think of it as a culinary adventure. People on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets will find much to celebrate here.
I visited Aladdin’s last Saturday afternoon with a friend, and we had a satisfying sampling of the cuisine, which seems genuinely healthful. According to general manager Stacey Biggs, the fare is all fresh and prepared on premises — soups, salad dressings, hummus, everything — with no preservatives or additives.
The Vegetarian Combo appetizer ($12.95) serves as a primer of sorts, containing such staple items as hummus (pureed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice) and baba gannouj (pureed fire-roasted eggplant, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil). Both creamy dips are perfect with pita bread.
Also on the platter were four felafel patties — chick peas and split fava beans blended with fresh parsley, onions, cumin and garlic, rolled into balls then deep-fried in peanut oil to a winning, non-greasy crispness and well paired with Aladdin’s house-made yogurt dressing (think hushpuppies).
Rounding out the sampler were two dawali (grape leaves stuffed with chickpeas, rice, parsley and tomatoes), and a mound of zesty tabouli (chopped parsley, bulgar, tomatoes, onions and lemon juice). Such an array of flavors and textures, and we were just getting started.
Aladdin’s Favorite Combo ($13.75) had a pile of exemplary seasoned brown rice and vermicelli topped with a grilled organic-chicken tender, four chunks of grilled marinated steak from a shish kabob, and a delicious piece of grilled beef kafta, which is lean ground beef mixed with parsley, onion, garlic and cumen formed into a sausage-shaped link.
Also on the plate was a spring mix salad with arugula, baby kale, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers; I’d recommend the yogurt dressing. Aladdin’s also has a wondrous hot sauce, made from fresh peppers, garlic and olive oil that can enhance many items depending on your yearning for heat.
Our third item was the Mujadara Plate ($10.25), which is vegan and gluten-free, sizable and very filling. It is a platter of savory steamed lentils and brown rice, well-complemented by a pile of browned onions and a contrasting fresh salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions and green pepper. This seemed more like a large side dish than an entree. We ate it and ate it and I took more than half of it home.
These three items are but a small fraction of Aladdin’s wide menu. There are housemade soups, pita “pitzas” and rolled pita sandwiches including chicken curry with peas, onions, banana peppers, tomatoes and cheddar ($4.95) and marinated tuna steak with greens, tomatoes, pickles and turnips ($7.25). There are numerous entree salads ($6.95 to $12.25) whose various toppings include falafel, chicken, tuna, lamb or steak.
While Aladdin’s has a commitment to nutrition and healthy eating, there is a dessert case filled with rich and visually enticing cheesecakes, cakes and tortes ($5.95 a slice) that are made from scratch at Aladdin’s bakery in Cleveland. Among the offerings Saturday were salted caramel cheesecake, carrot cake, tiramisu, limoncello cake and a gluten-free chocolate-cherry cake.
Among the available beverages are 12 varieties of hot tea, crafts beers (Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale, $4, is excellent) and wine by the glass.
While not large, Aladdin’s feels spacious and airy, with subdued lighting and a soundtrack of rhythmic Arabic music. The restaurant is located on the outer plaza at The Strip that also contains Men’s Wearhouse and AAA.

Read more here.
Story by: Dan Kane,  cantonrep.com