Aladdin’s works its genie magic - Metro US

Aladdin’s works its genie magic

Aladdin’s Casbah
109-12445 Lake Fraser Dr. S.E., Calgary
(403) 313-9599

Rating: ***
Dinner & drinks for 2: $60

Among the cluster of restaurants in the southeast Avenida Village mall lies Aladdin’s Casbah, run by a Lebanese family transplanted from Quebec.

The Middle Eastern delights have a genie’s touch.

You could get stuffed on meza (a seemingly endless parade of appetizers) alone. They go from simple in the dips — fresh hummus, tzatiki, and baba ghanouj ($6.99) that taste nothing like grocery store tubs — to exotic in hot Lebanese and Armenian sausages (maanek and soujouk).

Some more uncommon plates are worth trying: kebi nayi ($12.99) is a spiced, finely minced variation of steak tartar; frog’s legs ($12.99) are cooked with garlic, lemon juice and cilantro.

Entrees showcase Aladdin’s wood charcoal barbecue. Classic shish taouk ($18.99) are huge skewers of impossibly moist chicken breast.

The best bang for your buck comes with the set menus. The Sultan’s Feast ($45 per person) fills your table with 10 appetizers, then a heaping platter of shish taouk, beef tenderloin kabobs, two quartered quails and jumbo shrimp, ending with dessert and coffee/tea. Service is haphazard but full of character. Belly dancers are featured on Saturday nights.

Dining out

Calgary has its first higher-end Vietnamese restaurant in Colonial Fusion (163 Quarry Park Blvd. S.E.) The new restaurant showcases French-influenced dishes and features those alongside familiar pho and bun dishes.The most common meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are pork, chicken, fish, and various kinds of seafood.

Grey Eagle Casino holds an Asian buffet ($16.99) every Wednesday 5-10 p.m. with all-you-can-eat sushi, Peking duck and suckling pig. Thursdays feature a seafood buffet ($22.99) with lobster, jumbo prawns, oysters on the half shell and crab legs. For more information visit www.greyeaglecasino.ca

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