Normally, a restaurant with a dozen plaster chicken carcass replicas dangling from the ceiling probably wouldn’t have us planning our next visit. A simple hanging pendant lamp would have been great, instead of sitting under the Terracotta Army of chickens. But, when combined with an otherwise-sleek dining room, creative cocktails, and Middle Eastern mezze that makes us eat our weight in homemade pita without realizing it, the end result is Mamnoon, and it’s excellent.
Mamnoon is our go-to special meal that doesn’t involve pasta or sushi. Their concept is simple - it’s insanely well-made, upscale Middle Eastern food. From the baba ghanoush to the lamb kefta, every dish has a ton of flavor and spice. That said, the food is all pretty accessible, which makes it perfect for people who maybe want to try something from another part of the world but have the palate of a defiant toddler.
It’s also one of our favorite restaurant swiss army knives - Mamnoon is great for a birthday dinner, a meal with colleagues or clients, or date night. It’s fun to share a handful of pita-swiped dips and a couple of entrees, but the price does add up fast. So if you’re not looking to throw down, or if you’re seriously offended by the model chicken bodies, pop by the street window and grab a couple of falafel sandwiches to-go.
Every meal at Mamnoon should start with this mezze sampler. In one order, alongside addicting homemade pita, you get hummus, muhammara (a paste of walnuts, cumin, pomegranate, garlic, and hot pepper), baba ghanoush, and shamandar bi tahini (beets, yogurt, tahini, garlic). The first three are ridiculously delicious. The beet spread is good too, but not up to par with the others.
“Cauliflower is boring,” you said. To which we say, joke’s on you. This is the best cauliflower we’ve ever tasted. Order it and you’re basically getting the entire head fried to a crisp (without any breading or batter) and topped with fresh parsley and a waterfall of tahini. Do it.
An empanada-like wheat shell with spiced beef, pine nuts, and tarrator (tahini-based sauce) for dipping. A great crowd-pleasing app, but we don’t need it as much as we need that fried cauliflower.
This is a grilled chicken kebab with charred lemon, garlic, zucchini, and red onion. Worth the not-small price ($20), especially if you’re looking to eat something light for dinner because you had six pitas.
An excellent log of ground lamb/beef, pistachios, and a yogurt sauce. The meat is perfectly spiced and grilled, and you won’t even mind that the yogurt sauce is plain and the rice is underseasoned.
Vegetarians rejoice. This is our favorite thing here: a bowl of lentils, rice, and toasted vermicelli mixed together, all combining to form something reminiscent of a risotto. It also has crispy shallots, caramelized onion, and an onion puree on top. You want this, despite the terrible things it will do to your breath.