Saturday, March 28, 2015

Mamnoon Seattle

Baking Khubz

Mamnoon Means Thankful

We went to another great restaurant this week in Seattle's Capital Hill area Mamnoon.  This area has undergone a transformation with many new restaurants and stores, there was the largest Starbucks I had ever seen where they roast the coffee, have entertainment, serve sandwiches, almost half a block in size.
When we walked in the hostess had read my blog and talked to me about some of posts in NYC.  It was a great way to start the evening.

Mamnoon Story

Mamnoon is a recent James Beard Semi Finalist in the Northwest and features food from the Middle East.  What is unusual about this restaurant is that the owners are restaurant rookies, Wassef and Racha Haroun.  Wassef worked for Microsoft as a project manager before leaving and starting the restaurant with his wife.  The food reflects his childhood when he and his mother spent time in the kitchen preparing traditiona Syrian dishes. During the creation of the restaurant the Harouns bought in their family members to help their new chef Garrett Melkonian recreate the tastes and techniques they enjoyed growing up. The Harouns have been able to create an open vibrant venue with great food and an impressive following. The restaurant space is what I would call industrial warm with a large area for baking on your immediate right and tables interspersed all the way back to the kitchen pass area.  The bakery is an entertainment venue with the baker kneading, baking and checking the final product before it is brought out straight to the tables.

Our Meal To be Thankful For

The food centers around breads which includes Khubz, Labneh, vegetables and exotic spices which create great marinades and sauces.  Mamnoon drink selection  is a lot more fun than other restaurants.  Each of the drinks incorporates a middle eastern spice or fruit to differentiate from any other drink you would ever buy, there was even a drink with curry.
Shish Taouk
Mamnoon is the perfect restaurant to enjoy small sharing plates, that way no one misses out.   We started the meal with Breads and spreads both creamy Hummus and Bateresh.  The Bateresh was made from charred Eggplant, Labneh, Lamb Ragu and Pine Nuts a very hardy and savory spread for the Khubz.  What a great way to start the meal!  We then were treated to two different types of dumplings one more like an Empenada, the Sambusek which tasted savory from the Feta and sweet from the fig Marmalade and Pomegranate, yummy.  The other Kibbeh which was more of a fried torpedo looking cracked wheat dumpling filled with Beef served with Tarrator for dipping (most likely wher Tartar Sauce came from).

Some of our Favorites

The last four main course dishes were all excellent but very different.
Dolmeh which is prevalent in many countries in the Middle East and is a vine leaf wrap stuffed with aromatic rice and sauteed vegetables with a hint of mint presented in a sweet and sour sauce.  The Shish Taouk is a Chicken Shish Kebab.  Mamnoon's preparation was with large chunks of chicken breast that had substance while stil being moist full of flavorful spices and  lemon very delicious.  Turlu is a vegetarian dish which is a flaky Phyllo pie crust stuffed with Tomato, braised vegetables, Armenian rice, Coriander and Urfa Beiber for heat and a lemon and cilantro pesto which had a bitter tart bite.  This was my stand out dish of our evening it had so many complex tastes and each bite was a little crunch from the crust and the perfect combination of filling and spices. .
Black Cod
Colorful and Delicious Turlu
Our last entree was a perfect prepared dish, Samkeh Harra, Roasted Black Cod seasoned with Aleppo Chili and Garlic served with some crushed pine nuts to add texture with delicate blanched pieces of Napa Cabbage with Mint leaves.  The Black Cod which is my favorite fish was perfectly seasoned and cooked and the simple cabbage with the mint leaf was unique, simple and tasty.
We were treated to Mazaher which was served in a large white bowl it is a concert orange blossom snow (finer Snow Cone Ice), whipped Labneh, Citus Syrup and Honey.  You take your spoon to mix it together till is becomes more of a Gelato texture that is colored light orange by the honey and citrus syrup.  Everyone then dives in to eat it communally with a spoon.  It is a Middle Eastern version of the snow cone but sweeter.

Definite Must Go In Seattle

I would highly recommend a meal at Mamnoon, great unique food, good service and lots of fun.  Seattle has many great restaurants Mamnoon is definitely a great choice.