|December 7 - 14 , 1 9 9 5|
Café Barada is meant for those days when you just want to keep a low profile.
Almost everything about this tiny East Arlington Lebanese restaurant is unassuming, from the innocuous façade to the somewhat spartan dining area. The only aspect that isn't humble is the flavors. They are bold, true, and screaming for attention.
The menu offers unusual specials such as bazella -- succulent lamb stew in a roasty tomato sauce -- for $5.95, along with many familiar Middle Eastern dishes. The well-seasoned falafel ($3.80), which at some eateries resembles hard, overfried hockey pucks, are crisp outside and tender within. Tremendous sandwiches of chicken, lamb, beef, and kafta kebab come wrapped in pita with vegetables and tahini, for between $4.25 and $4.50. The same kebabs also come on a dinner plate with side dishes for between $7.50 and $7.95. Labany, a yogurt-cheese appetizer for $3.75, was tangy and creamy, and the ful mdammus, a soupy stew of beans smothered in oil, lemon, and garlic ($3.25), was so good I wanted to slather it over my whole body.
Café Barada, located at 161 Mass Ave, in Arlington, is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Around the first of the year, it will move to larger quarters at 201 Mass Ave, directly across from the Capitol Theater (a winning date combo for the financial challenged). Call 646-9650.
-- Adam Ried