WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A WHOLE MEZZE FLAVORS

070516bayroot5Appetizers, or “mezze,”from Bayroot include falafel, stuffed grape leaves, spinach pies, mouhammara, baba ghanouj and hummus.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?The sleepy little shopping center called Shrewsbury Village in the borough of Shrewsbury has seen a great deal of turnover lately. Rosina’s Ristorante, once an anchor there, is gone, as are the Cypress Café and the short-lived Doco Donuts.

“Looking for the right place at the right price,” Shrewsbury resident Maher Dougan says that he and his wife, Lara, took a leap of faith and decided to open Bayroot Lebanese Restaurant there a few months back.
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RED BANK: TALKING TURKEY, FALAFEL & LOVE

cafe28Café 28 regular Patrick Means says he was never a fan of eggplant until Mohamed Ebery gave him a taste of  Ismat Eggplant, named for Ebery’s mom. Below, Ebery dishes up a plate of Mediterranean love. (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

cafe28 (2)Look, cards on the table, we are big fans of Café 28’s falafel in a pita.

Ever since Mohamed Elbery took over  the short-lived Carmine’s Sub Shop on White Street in Red Bank and added Mediterranean foods like gyros and baba ganoush to the menu, it’s been our go-to spot when we get the itch for falafel, always ordered with extra hot sauce.

The thing is though, the sub-shop-meets-Mediterranean menu always seemed a bit Janus-faced. But with a couple years of running Cafe 28 under his belt, Elbery has turned the menu into a coherent vehicle for his creativity, despite the superficial contradictions of a menu that offers turkey subs alongside falafel and stuffed grape leaves.

“Why not?” says Elbery. “We eat turkey in Egypt, too. But here for you, I can put tabouleh on it. It’s all Mediterranean food. To me there is no distinction.”

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