Friday, October 3, 2008

Bites Team—and Secret Service—Checks Out New Tabouli’s

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 5:00 AM

We stopped in the newly renovated Tabouli’s for lunch this week. What a surprise. Not only is the festive, colorful patio a Belmont-area landmark in the making, the food was very satisfying.

Instead of diving into the $10 buffet of lasagna, spaghetti, gyro meat, salad and cake, we ordered three platters by different names (gyro, shawarma and falafel), which turned out to be basically identical meals topped with lamb, chicken and, obviously, falafel. Our meals were preceded by small salads of mixed greens with a rich vinaigrette studded with feta and kalamata olives.

The falafel platter ($8.95) was particularly delightful, because the deep-fried patties of chickpeas and herbs are so hard to come by in Nashville. A plate of yellow basmati rice, fluffy toasted pita sections and creamy hummus was topped with a half-dozen reddish-brown pucks. I tentatively bit into one, half-expecting to find a dry ball of sawdust. Instead, a glistening, crisp exterior gave way to a piping-hot and herb-flecked core with the texture of moist and fluffy Thanksgiving stuffing, which paired deliciously with the cooling yogurt sauce. Our only regret was that there was no falafel sandwich on the menu.

The new staff was very attentive and bubbling with enthusiasm about next week’s town hall debate across the street at Belmont University. Our server said that Secret Service had already inspected the restaurant because both Obama and McCain are expected to drop in at Tabouli’s and other eateries along Belmont Boulevard. If you get to Tabouli’s in time to get a table on Oct. 7, please report back on Bites—about the food and the candidates.

Located at 2015 Belmont Blvd., Tabouli’s serves lunch and dinner daily.

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