The interior of ArabesQ is like a Arabian palace. There are stunning carved wood panels and ceilings, intricate lighting fixtures, mosaic tiles and attractive waiters. The place was packed for dinner on a Thursday night. We had the mixed mezze with puffy, dry bread. The flavors of the salads were unique and some were completely new to me even though I have had more than my share of different mezze experiences in different countries. Most were quite good, some, like the hummus, were standard faire. I also ordered the tuna tartar because it is usually one of my most favorite dishes. I thought it odd to find it on an Arab menu but, I went ahead and ordered it. It was well presented however, it lacked any seasoning. The tuna was in small cubes and sitting on a ring of cubed avocado. It had lemon zest and juice and red onion. It really lacked salt, coriander not to mention that the avocados were just a little more crunchy than ripe. Not unpleasant overly, just a little underwhelming.
The main courses were more tasty but, it seemed as if they were trying a little too hard with the plating. Using half the round plate for the food and the other half for sauce calligraphy only made the plate of food look smaller than it actually was. I had the lion of tuna. The tuna in a long, thin cylinder and was lightly battered. It was served rare (as I like it) and served over well-seasoned barley. Although it looked small on the large plate, the accompanying sauces added sweetness, spice and enough interest to make it a successful dish. Again, not "wow" but I found the variety of interesting twists on Arab food very modern and tasty. I suppose I wasn't surprised by the average quality. I have been to other posh-Arabic restaurants before and have been equally underwhelmed. I would go to ArabesQ again on a special occasion. I would order the mixed mezze again (it was tasty and there were few other appetizer choices anyway). I would not order the tartar again. I would order the tuna loin. But, I would definitely try the lamb. We did not eat dessert this time. Oh, and there was an impressive selection of Lebanese wines. Although we did not have any wine with this meal, I would personally recommend any of the Middle Eastern wines that ArabesQ had on offer. They got a lot right. I think they are still tweaking their menu.
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