Mamnoon Restaurant is known for being one of the best in Seattle, so I made reservations early.
The restaurant boasts a "Modern union of Middle Eastern Cuisines," so I was excited to try this out since my experience is limited with Middle Eastern cuisine.
Food is an essential part of all family and social interactions in the Middle East where people grow up with intense flavors, colorful, vibrant foods fresh from the marketplace, prepared simply and with a lot of passion. Aromatic herbs fill the streets and a spirit of warmth and generosity exudes welcome at any table. Here at mamnoon, we share these strengths brought with us from Lebanon and Syria to the new world of Seattle – where modern curiosity, compassion, progressive values and tolerance are paving the way for harmonious integration and celebration of cultures and flavors (People).
The space is large, intricate and impressive. Various areas are sectioned out, so the atmosphere still felt cozy. We initially walked by a modern bar area, then through a more open dining space and into a dining area with cozy and nontraditional seating.
appetizer, I ordered dolmeh, which had sweet and sour rice, grape leaves, barberries, yogurt and fried shallots. A little sour, but I enjoyed it.
For a cocktail, I went with the "ya amar," which had vodka, cherry liqueur, orange blossom, and moscato d'asti served in a flute. I can't help it that it sounded good - and it was good! A touch sweet, but not overly.
And, finally, my entree was the "shish taouk," which is the one thing our server said NOT to order since everybody orders it -- but if everyone orders it, it's probably because it's good, right?
So, it comes with halal chicken, garlic, charred lemon, marinated vegetables and herbs. While this was tasty, I think I was expecting a bit more. They are all simple ingredients and all done very well. I just think I had something built up more in my mind when folks raved about this place. It was good - and had nice balance - but something a touch more exciting would have been even better.