Note: This article originally appeared as “Off the Broiler Economic Stimulus Dinner II”. With the recent review of this restaurant in the New York Times, we thought it would be appropriate to raise it to the foreground and update several photos.
939 Main Street, Paterson NJ
For our second in our series of Economic Stimulus events, we enlisted former Bergen Record restaurant writer and fellow food blogger Victor Sasson to arrange a lunch for us at one of South Paterson’s best Syrian restaurants, Aleppo, after which we went shopping at some of the local bakeries and markets.
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
A group of stalwart foodies gathered at Aleppo Restaurant on early Saturday afternoon to eat (mass quantities!) of AMAZING Middle Eastern cuisine.
A seemingly never-ending table of Syrian delights awaited us.
A raw-style Kibbe, made with lamb and beef. Similar to a steak tartare. We also had the torpedo-shaped fried kibbe seasoned with pomegranate syrup and pine nuts.
A very tasty and spicy lentil soup.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Syrian-style Felafels. Some of the best I’ve ever had.
Arayes, thin pita bread wedges stuffed with meat.
This was one of two varieties of Sambusak that we had, which were stuffed with spiced meat and cheese. The red dip that you see in these photos is Muhammara, a spicy blend of Syrian Aleppo pepper and walnuts and other spices.
Muhammara close-up (photo: Eric Eisenbud)
Hummus (center) with Kibbe, Sambusak and Tabbouleh.
Shish Barak. These are fantastic Syrian meat-stuffed dumplings in a yogurt and meat sauce, similar to Afghan Mantou.
These are special minced lamb kebabs (ordered off-menu in advance by Victor) in a cherry juice sauce. Simply outstanding.
Syrian Style Chicken and Rice
Stuffed Eggplants and Stuffed Squash, which had a spiced rice meat mixture in them.
Another view of the table of overflowing food. Suffice to say we had so much food that a LOT of stuff was brought home. Everyone had enough for a (big) lunch for the next day.
Mixed Kebab platter of Chicken, Beef and Lamb with grilled vegetables.
Owner Mohamed with semolina cakes.
This is a honey semolina cake, which went great with the cardamom flavored strong Arabic coffee and tea.
See you next time!
Unbelievable meal. Aleppo Restaurant won my heart today. Thanks.
Oh my, what delicious looking food. I’m just jealous I couldn’t make it to this wonderful lunch. Will have to try this place sometime.
Holy Toledo, that looks amazing. I wish I could’ve made it. Coincidentally, I actually took some friends to Kamil’s, just down the street on Main in Clifton, for dinner on Saturday and they liked it a lot, especially the muhammara and a special of grapes leaves with meat, and a really great flame-roasted flatbread (apparently they only serve it on weekends), but the service was a little wonky this time. But I’m very jealous of your stuffed eggplant and sambusak and shish barak and lamb kebabs in cherry juice. Aleppo might be my choice next time.
Very beautiful photos !
Great photos, and nice technique for juxtaposing them….so that you can use more of them. I’m going to suggest that
for our culinary institute’s blog, called DICED. (The Institute of Culinary Education)
You sure are the King Kong of fressors. But damn if you know where the good places to eat are. Your comments on South Paterson are a little too winky for me, a Jewish guy who grew up in Paterson. We called pita “syrian bread” and would regularly visit the bakeries to get some. The Arab/Israeli conflict never entered into the food. I think you are a little too timid about Paterson too. There are plenty of interesting restaurants squirreled away from the old time Italian bar/pizzerias, the Jamaican jerk places, the Bangladeshi places, and the railroad market.
I read the recent review from New York Times on Aleppo restaurant and so my husband and I decided to eat lunch there in celebration of his birthday. What a mistake! We ordered falafel, tahini sauce which looked like creamy water, tabouli (was not fresh and needed salt and lemon juice), hommus and baba ghanouj (okay) and the mixed grill dish (kofta, beef and chicken kabobs and rice). Kabobs were very dry and the kofta was below average. We also ordered kibbi (baked) which had no taste whatsoever. I was so disappointed and would never go there again.
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I can’t let this assertion stand unchallenged. As the saying goes “milage varies.” I too scheduled my birthday celebration at the Aleppo and asked the owner a day before to prepare the lamb kebab specialty in cherry sauce. The dinner was outstanding. We ordered heavy on the small plate appetizers and everything was prepared fresh. The meat dishes were very tasty and I would say the same thing about freshness.
It’s too bad that you had a bad experience. Sometimes these small family owned restaurants have off nights, but that is no reason to abandon them. Instead of writing them off, I’d call the owner and tell him about your disappointing meal. I bet he will do something about it in the future.
Like I said in the beginning, mileage varies.