TarBoush: Restaurant Guide 2014

3257 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 235-3277; 
5663 NE Glisan St., 235-3274,

[MEZZA AND BEYOND] TarBoush makes the best beef shawarma and mezza plates in town, but you should dig deeper into the menu at this Lebanese standout, which now has a second location in North Tabor. Just below the hummus, baba and grape leaves you'll find mhammara ($9), a bowl of meaty walnuts ground into a gritty dark-red paste and blended with smoky roasted red pepper and olive oil. Sure, there's falafel and zaatar, but also a bowl of odd little sausages called makanik, made in-house from gamey lamb sirloin, with natural casing and a secret spice blend, seared and served with a candy-sweet salsa of chopped tomatoes and lemon. In the entree section, look for bamyeh, a hearty okra-based chili, a thick tomato-based stew of fibrous green seedpods, onion, cilantro and garlic. It's warming, like something dads make on cold Big Beirut nights. Kibbeh laqteen ($15) are triangular slices of pumpkin kibbeh that look like a dessert but are made with bulgur and pumpkin puree, a thin layer of stewed spinach, onions and sumac, and served with a sprinkle of toasted almonds and parsley. You're meant to cut off a chunk and slather it with yogurt like a savory pumpkin pie. MARTIN CIZMAR.

Pro tip:

The pita, hummus and beef shawarma plates really are the best in town, too.

Glisan: 11 am-9 pm Monday-Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday-Sunday. Hawthorne: Noon-10 pm Monday-Thursday, noon-11 pm Friday-Saturday, noon-9 pm Sunday. $$.