Let me start by saying that Salma’s Lebanese cuisine is a restaurant that must be visited. It has a relaxed and yet busy vibe located just off the highway. I loved how welcoming everyone was to the restaurant. It felt different in an almost overwhelming manner. I knew that I was in for a treat with just that alone. I had not had Lebanese food in years after giving up on finding a good restaurant in the States. That is right. You read that correctly. I have found it hard to find a good Lebanese restaurant in the States. I found one in Virginia once when I went to grad school there but I forget the name and location since it was over ten years ago. You would think in New York, I would easily find one but I have been hard pressed as well. After this meal, I am going to have to search harder to find one at home because boy have I missed the cuisine. For Salma’s, they have quite a few options. It is a full booklet of menu items spread over a lot of pages. One could get overwhelmed with that, and I normally would, but instead I was thrilled by what laid ahead
I will mention that I was disappointed that there was no shawarma on the menu. That is one thing that I really wanted on my visit here but I just could not make up my mind on where to go for one. There is always next time. What did excite me though was that they had special hummus. That is the one where there is flavored ground meat on top so that was most definitely a win. I have found Lebanese hummus to always taste different and better than traditional hummus that I find around town and in supermarkets. The closest in flavor that I have had in the city is at Taboon… now they know how to make hummus. The first time I had it, it gave me memories of the first time I had had hummus as a child in Nigeria… soooo good! So here is the food rundown…
Since Salma’s was my last stop on my Lagos foodie trip, I had learned the hard way and given up on ordering wine. Now since I had had two fabulous Negroni’s at RSVP just before coming over here, I decided to continue down the same path and order another one. It tasted like a standard negroni but not anything particularly mind-blowing and high ranking. I would have ordered another cocktail to see what else they had to offer but I called it quits as I was starting the feel the effects of too much hard liquor.
Next I had the meat sambousek. This looks like an empanada stuffed with beef with a mildly oily crust. The oily aspect of it was not a deter as there was a sweet element to it that gave it a very tasty balance. The beef that was stuffed inside was not overly flavored thereby allowing the crust to shine even further. All in all, I found this to be a very balanced and tasty bite.
At the same time that I was eating the sambousek, the special hummus was brought out. Take note that on their menu, it is spelled hommos. I wonder which is the correct spelling… musing. Now this is REAL hommus. On flavor of the hommos alone, this is not as good as Taboon but MOST DEFINITELY better than the other normal hommus you get in the city. The chickpeas have been modified, pre-prepped and not just blended. Now the addition of the ground meat is what shoots this hommos higher than what Taboon offers. A Lebanese man that I met at another restaurant had described to me the somewhat involved process to make Lebanese hommus which I think was employed here. I had my headphones on with African music pumping while I danced away in my seat because I had had my win of hommos here.
Finally I had the cheese and kafta manouche. It is basically a pizza but damn… this is good! You notice that I am using quite a bit of profanity in this write-up which is unlike me but when I have good food… well all my manners go out the window. The cheese, the meat, it all just meshed together perfectly. Having this definitely made up for my disappointment that there was no sharwarma on the menu. I live a low-carb lifestyle if you can imagine it with all the food that I eat but I really just did not care that I was eating so many carbs. I particularly loved how the cheese was not too salty. Instead it had just this understated satisfying and fulfilling quality to it.
The food portions are substantial here so I would suggest that you grab a couple of friends and make it a night of merriment as you explore the menu dish after dish. I know that I certainly will be paying them a visit again the next time that I am in town.