Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Al Wadi Cafe, Middle Eastern, Bedford-TX

First visit: November 2011

On the Prince Lebanese Grill post, I asked if there were any good Middle Eastern restaurants in NE Tarrant? I basically fed that question into Urbanspoon, and out came Al Wadi Cafe - a place that seems to be immensely popular judging by the high rating and number of raters, which as of this writing makes it the #90 most popular restaurant in all of DFW (again, according to Urbanspoon). In fact, the only other restaurant labeled middle eastern in the area is Cafe Medi in Hurst, a place we visited many years ago and need to try again (read: it didn't wow us the first time).

Al Wadi is a classic Regular Joe's hole-in-the-wall. On Brown Trail, just south of Harwood in a shopping center that time forgot, or perhaps it never was remembered - Al Wadi sits patiently awaiting its expected crowd. Next door sits a chocolatier and a middle eastern grocery store. They did everything they could do to spiffy the place up, including adding a charming front patio area for outside dining. Inside is clean and pleasant - not ostentatious as middle eastern places are sometimes wont to do.

The menu features dishes of the middle east and, as is common for places such as this, Greek fare is offered as well. I usually like to try Lebanese dishes first. For a first visit, the results were hit and miss - but definitely good enough to warrant a second try and earn our recommendation. I had the beef and chicken shwarma combo dish. The beef was a bit tough, and there was an ingredient standing out that I just didn't care for. I cannot put my finger on it - almost like when food is cooked in red wine. Obviously that's not the case here, but I cannot describe the flavor any better. The chicken, however, was delicious and perfectly tender. Despite being the same dish with separate meats, the results were completely different. The rice had a great taste, but was unfortunately a bit mushy. This can be the death knell for the RJG, but the flavors were too good to ignore. We'll just give them the benefit of the doubt that it was an off-day. The salad was perfect, with an excellent homemade Greek dressing - exactly as expected. Mrs. RJH opted for the kofta kabob, and it was a definite home run. The perfectly spiced balls of ground beef were some of the best we'd tried. She also tried the hummus, which she said was great. Oh, and she wanted you all to know the vegetables on the kebab were excellent as was the pita bread (I agree). Otherwise her comments echo mine in regards to the salad and rice. So not perfect, but the potential is obviously there. We'll be back.

Website

Al Wadi Cafe on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

bourgon said...

Huge fanboy of the place. Gyros surprisingly good, foul muddamas are great, but moussaka is sublime. Go on Tues/Thurs/Sun for the buffet. I keep meaning to find/buy/bring some appropriate prog, but the only thing I can think of offhand is Asia Minor, which is Turkish.

Abyhow, go again, try the dolmas. Or the baba ghanouj (they roast their own eggplant) or...

RJG said...

Hi Michael,

Yea, not a whole lot of progressive rock from the Middle East outside of Turkey. There's Osiris from Bahrain, but they don't sound middle eastern. Zartong from Armenia is similar to Asia Minor (but only available as an LP). Perhaps it's best to go Greek as it were - then that opens the door to Aphrodite's Child, PLJ Band, Akritas, Axis (no CD though), and a host of others. Funny enough there's been a couple of Italian restaurants that Mr. Music made Italian prog samplers for and they'd play the music later in the evening. So why not right?

I was going to try their Gyros next time. I just hope the rice is done right next time. That's important for the wife and I.

BTW - I'm sure you know Mr. Music too. I'm looking forward to his reviews soon!