Food Porn: Mezza Restaurant & Lounge

I guess that before I say anything about this restaurant I should mention that I am friends with the owners/chefs (Johnny and PJ Eid) and I understand that means I might have a potential bias in writing this review.  However everything I am about to say is completely true and are thoughts/opinions that I fully believe in and would gladly defend.

Mezza just opened their doors on Elmwood roughly a week ago in the building next to Starbucks and across the street from Jim’s Steakout.  With the loss of Sahara Grill over a year ago (currently Zetti’s) Elmwood lost another one of their diverse restaurants offering cuisine that you can’t get in the suburbs.  However, Mezza will be adding an all new cuisine to the Elmwood line up, Lebanese.  Having a best friend who is Lebanese, I happened to get an awesome introduction into various homemade Lebanese dishes over the past few years.  For even the picky-est eater out there, you will be able to find something on this menu that you will enjoy.  Anyways, onto the food!

We decided to sit outside when we went to lunch last week, as it was a beautiful sunny day.  That said, the inside has been completely re-done and looks fantastic.

We started the meal with an appetizer, the Labne bi Heshwa (6.99) which came with a side of Pita.  This was actually the second time I’ve had this dish (yes I’ve been there twice already and yes I am the mayor on foursquare), I really enjoy it.  Labne has already been featured on the site in a Cookin’ with Walt article a couple months ago.  It’s a yogurt that has a slightly sour taste and a consistency that would be a mix between sour cream and cream cheese.  Added are some sauteed pine nuts, beef, onions and olive oil on top that put the flavor of the dish over the top.  With some grilled slices of pita that you can use to dip into the labne, it’s a fantastic menu item to share with some friends (vegetarians can get Labne solo for 4.99)

My coworker ordered an Open Chicken Souvlaki; I didn’t eat any of the item but it looked great, and had a good amount of chicken, feta, and olives.  She remarked that the chicken was great and might be a good choice for those less-adventurous eaters out there who are unwilling to try a more authentic Lebanese dish.

Alli ordered a Chicken Shawarma, which is a pita wrap filled with chicken (or beef), a garlic spread, pickles, coleslaw, tomatoes and some tahini sauce.  The garlic spread was absolutely delicious, the coleslaw had a good crunch (along with the pickles) and the tahini sauce wasn’t overwhelming but added a nice kick to the grilled chicken.

I ordered their version of Sheesh Tawouk, essentially that translates to skewered chicken. The pita wrap comes with coleslaw, pickles, the same garlic spread, but instead of tahini sauce and tomatoes, it has delicious french fries inside the wrap.  It almost has the issue of being a little dry without the sauce but the coleslaw and juicy chicken makes the whole combination work fantastically.

For anyone who is looking for something new and interesting in Buffalo, this is a great new addition to the downtown restaurant scene.  This authentic Lebanese cuisine is something new that even hesitant eaters can enjoy and the menu is reasonably healthy (sans the french fries in the wrap) and has options for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.  Johnny and PJ are not rookies to preparing food and running a restaurant, they’ve been doing it for a while as their family owns and runs Pete’s Greek Isles in the Boulevard Mall.  Now that they are finally running a sit down restaurant located in a great area of downtown Buffalo, I have a lot of confidence they will be doing so for many years to come.

To note, their portions aren’t massive, they are smaller than you may be used to and almost in a “Tapas” style (having several small plates and tasting a bit of everything).  So if you are a big eater I would definitely suggest trying several plates (prices range from 5-10 dollars for most items).  In addition, they are still just getting started and even though the owners have restaurant experience, it may take a week or so to get all the kinks out.  While we didn’t have any issues with our meal, it should be understandable while they get a trained staff up to speed and everything starts working like clockwork.  And once they get their liquor license (many know how long that takes when opening a restaurant in Buffalo) it will be a great place to grab a drink and sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of Elmwood.

Mezza Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

5 thoughts on “Food Porn: Mezza Restaurant & Lounge

  1. Evelyn and Hugh Brady

    Mezza on Elmwood- A GREAT PLACE FOR PRIVATE PARTIES. We recently celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary with approximately 45 family members and friends at Mezza. The service and food were exceptional. The wait staff took coats, kept our guests well attended with drinks and appetizers and the meal was fresh and delicious. The owners checked several times to see if we needed anything. We brought in a music group, had a slide show, and presentations. The Eid family accommodated our every request graciously and efficiently. The space is contemporary and lovely and would accommodate a shower, smaller wedding reception, or regular party. You will be very pleased with Mezza’s hospitality.

  2. Sue

    The service stinks. The portions are small. Management is rude. I would never eat here again.

  3. Lisa

    I recently ate here during Restaurant week and was extremely disappointed. The food portions were small and bland. They advertise complimentary Lebanese coffee at the end of the meal but we weren’t offered any.In fact, our waitress asked us to clear out of our table as she had a reservation waiting……tacky and rude. I will not be eating here again.

    • Marie

      During Restaurant Week do you really expect big portions? Come on. It’s not tacky or rude if you don’t have reservations and they seat and when your finished let you know that a reservation for the table is coming in then I think that’s kind…. No need to be bitter, I personally love the food and was always treated great there. Good vibes and good food at this place

  4. steven

    poor service

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