2448 E Burnside St
We had 2 – $20 gift certificates from a previous Portland Food Adventures to spend here. I had looked at the menu a few times and thought it kind of looked overwhelming and I knew my husband would not be super excited about it. Time and time again I heard people talk about how great this place was. Finally one night without thinking about it I said we were going. We show up right before they open and we start reading the menu on the door, to which my husband replies, “This menu looks just ok. Are you sure about this place?”
Levant has one of those menus that you just need to slow down and really read through it and then you discover the treasure. It is after all a French-Aravesque restaurant serving Middle Easter dishes. I told my husband to trust me, I knew I would wow him with my suggestion once again. Once they finally opened we made our way out to their patio to enjoy the sun.
They serve Happy Hour at the bar and on the patio, so we took advantage of the drinks, but we decided to go with dinner, since we had a gift certificates after all. We were quick to ask what favorites were and we were told not to miss the Lamb dish that had 4 different cuts of lamb cooked in their hearth. From there we worked our way backwards looking through all the options.
We quickly decided to forgo the salad. Yep we are those people. I would rather choose something creative and different over a salad, although their salads did look great. We started ordering and told him to let us know if we had ordered too much. We started with the Lamb Cigars and the Pita and Hummus. They have a few hummus options, one we didn’t recognize, but it was hummus with a garbanzo bean salad on top. I have been known to sit down at lunch with a can of garbanzo beans and hummus, I was glad I was finally validated for my personal dining choices.
The lamb cigars were a very strong lamb flavor. We have just recently started ordering more lamb and we do know it can sometimes be a gamble as some cuts and preparations are much stronger, so this was definitely more gamey, but the overall dish was very well done.
The hummus Masabacha was amazing and I loved that they had a blend of yellow and green Garbanzo beans. The Masabacha is the garbanzo bean salad added on top. Great added touch for sure. The pita bread was thick and fluffy. It was hard not to just power through this. LOVED IT.
The prawns were really well done and had great flavor. I loved the avocado sauce they had with it, as it added just enough flavor, but didn’t overpower and take away from them. I should also add that they were huge, so definitely prawns, not shrimp. The Salt Cod Croquettes were our least favorite dish of the night. Not sure what it was, they weren’t bad, it’s just that everything else we had was so exceptional.
Of course we finished off the evening with the lamb dish. With 4 different cuts it was a great variety. There was the chop on top, a loin, a sausage and finally tucked underneath all that was braised pork with spring veggies. This is their signature dish it is not to be missed. It was loaded with flavor and the fresh seasonal veggies were a perfect compliment to the lamb. We enjoyed all the cuts of lamb, none of them were gamey. They were all mild and tender.
There were several things on the menu that we would have loved to try, plus it’s also very seasonal, so we will for sure be back to try more things. What’s your favorite thing from the menu?
- Atmosphere is very sleek, upscale and yet cozy with the fire.
- Price was definitely higher. Our whole meal was $100. We did splurge with 2 drinks each and we ordered quite a bit of stuff. The plates are small and you will need to take that into consideration.
- Service was good. We never waited for anything and they were very helpful.
- They had a good selection of beer on tap and a good cocktail list along with wines.
- Levant is located on E. Burnside.