Friday, April 30, 2010

Ranoush: great food, overbearing service

I went to Saleem's on the loop a couple of years ago and thought it was pretty mediocre. The falafel was dry, the pita was cold, and it was all very dark and dingy. Now Saleem's is called Ranoush under new ownership (i'm guessing), and though the 'new' restaurant still serves Middle Eastern cuisine, everything else is different. Better atmosphere and definitely better food.

Our meal was absolutely delicious. The only downside to our meal was an overzealous red-headed waitress. She must have asked how we were doing twenty times, and she rushed us to order and to pay our bill. Total turn-off.

But back to the glorious food. We started with the Traditional Mezza for Two and split it between the four of us as an appetizer.

We were all wowed by the amount and quality of the food. The baba ganoush was nice and thick, the hummus came with some whole chickpeas, and it all was accompanied by a basket of warm pita. Pita served warm is so key. The cheese fatayer (pie stuffed with feta, fresh parsley, and onion) was to die for.

I loooooove falafel, and I was not disappointed with Ranoush's. It was hot and crispy on the outside, and soft but not too dry on the inside:

The kibbeh's (traditional Syrian dish of fried balls of spiced meat and burghal) outside texture was also hot and crispy and yum.

I love the fun shape of the kibbeh! I didn't love the inside as much, but that's only because I don't like gamey meat, and I have a feeling the meat inside was ground lamb.

So after this appetizer plate was only about half-eaten, our waitress came and asked if she could take it away.

What. the. heck.

I can deal with slow waiters, annoying waiters, even waiters with attitude... but the second you try to take away my delicious food, you are dead to me. There was so much food left on the plate! I could NOT believe taking it away was even a possibility.

And after our entrees came, she tried to take our app plate away AGAIN. I was about to punch her in the face. And I usually try not to punch people.

Seth and Jake ordered the beef shwarma, and Deirdre ordered the lamb shish kebab. It all looked like this:


I got the batenjaan bil foren: baked aubergines, onions, green and red peppers in a tomato sauce.

Did you know that aubergines = eggplant? I had no idea. I'm glad my meal partners are more vegetable-savvy than me.
I never had this dish before, so I don't really have a good comparison, but I really enjoyed it. The slight bitterness of the eggplant went well with the tang of the sauce. It heated up well the next day, too.

All I know is that the rice was fluffy and perfect!
Can't wait for my next visit to Ranoush...

But that red-head better NOT be there!

6501 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130


  1. haha i love the waitress punch comment. seriously. why are they so eager to clear plates?!

    also, that meat looked SO JUICY !!!!!!!!!

  2. Oh man, Caitlin and I also had an overzealous waitress experience last night! Caitlin wanted to invite her to pull up a chair, just so she would stop asking us how things were going!!