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>> BABA GANOUSH GIVES DINERS A FEAST OF CULTURAL FLAVORS
Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill, reviewed


Date published: 10/6/2011

BY LINDA SALISBURY

FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Eagle Village's nest of restaurants is filling nicely with the addition of Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill.

Fast and affordable, the grill features dishes from the Middle East and the owners' native Pakistan. It's especially convenient for University of Mary Washington students and faculty because it's situated across U.S. 1 from the campus. The Eagle Village complex is located near the new above-ground pedestrian walkway and new dorms.

Customers make selections at the counter and carry trays to tables to eat inside or out.

My Dining Partner and I began with side orders of dolmas (grape leaves, $3.99 for four) and, of course, baba ganoush ($3.99). The tender grape leaves are wrapped around a lemon-flavored rice mixture, making for a delicious snack. Baba ganoush ($3.99), a dip composed of eggplant, garlic, lemon juice and sesame seed paste, is always a favorite of ours. We dipped the warm, freshly baked tandoori naan that accompanied our entrees in the homemade baba ganoush for a filling treat. I could make a meal out of that puffy flatbread and dip! Extra naan is available for $1.99.

I ordered chicken tikka kabob ($7.99), chunks of seasoned and grilled chicken breast. Although a bit dry, the chicken was full of flavor. It was accompanied by a good-size portion of basmati rice and a side of my choosing. I selected the spinach, which was cooked with onion, garlic, bay leaf, black and green cardamom and cinnamon sticks. Nobody had to tell me to finish this side!

MDP ordered lamb curry ($8.99), which also came with naan and rice, and ordered Moroccan eggplant for his side. The boneless pieces of lamb were tender and bathed in a curry that had good flavor, but wasn't too spicy. (The dishes can be made spicier on request.) He also liked the eggplant.

There are wraps on the menu made with the naan, and stuffed with gyro, chicken marsala, chicken or lamb kabob. They are something to try on a return visit.

We decided to try desserts made by or for the restaurant. We ordered gulob jamon ($2.99 for four), and "Gamett's homemade amazing pound cake" ($1.99). Gulob jamon is a popular dessert in India and Pakistan. The fried dough balls are drenched in a flavored sugar syrup and served warm. They are one of those must-try offerings. The pound cake was sweet and dense--only a few crumbs were left on the plate.

Baba Ganoush, both the restaurant and the traditional dish, are a nice addition to the cuisine in the university and Fredericksburg areas.

Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award- winning adventure series for kids.


What: Baba Ganoush Mediterranean Grill

Address: 1115 Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, in Eagle Village, near the above-ground pedestrian crosswalk. Restaurant is between Pancho Villa Express and Blackstone Coffee.

Phone: 540/479-1123 Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prices:

Appetizers/sides: $3.99

Salads: $3.99-$5.99

Wraps: $5.99-$7.99

Dinners: $7.99-$10.99

Desserts: $1.99-$2.99

The Scoop: Clean, family-friendly, good food with discounts for Mary Washington students. Mini-baby grand piano offers opportunity for entertainment. Counter service provides quick meal opportunities for eating in or taking out. Payment: Major credit cards accepted.