A Historian Making History: Abdo Restaurant

In the past 3 years, I’ve been to many restaurants, tried so many different kinds of foods, was wowed and was disappointed, got my highs and took my lows, until yesterday:

Away from sophistication & complicated menus, came a teacher, a history teacher: He gave me and my dear friend GSN a lesson of traditions, an old lesson, going back from our jdoudna all the way to our fast present in a timeline of delicious dishes, simple dishes, traditional dishes.

I was already in my Pajamas when I got GSN’s call: Gaston! you need to come and try Abdo Restaurant with me. The ignorant that I was, replied: what’s that? He laughed and said yalla you have 1 hour to be in Gemayzeh.

8:30 sharp I was stepping inside of… oh!, a chalkboard, nice touch for a school teacher… It’s a tiny place with 3 tables, however, from the kitchen size you could tell his business load is on delivery.

I wanted to make a long review of Abdo Restaurant, but I keep get that urge inside me to cut the prose and focus on the food and talk about Abdo himself: That history teacher who was forced by life to quit teaching and follow a different path to make a better living, a path that led him to discover a passion: La Graine de Blé.

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Developing that passion led him better fermentation and bacteria, on a certain level, the history teacher became a chemist. A Chemist with a passion, the passion to make the best dough ever made, and lord is my witness he succeeded.

I will skip the part where Abdo himself explains the process of slow fermentation to us and jump right into those amazing zaatar saj… the Zaatar itself is unique, of an ultimate quality, zaatar leaves, simple zaatar saj, that 24 hours later I can still taste in my mouth and feel the echoes of its vibes through my body… a simple Zaatar les amis…

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We tried over different wraps and saj that night, and while the chicken and steak wraps were very good, nothing could come close to the traditional items he served.

The History teacher who turned chemist just turned Artist: A dough artist, a traditional saj Artist, Artist avec un GRAND A.

We were done, GSN and I, however, Abdo insisted that we try the beid bi awarma. We were sincerely full mais on ne s’est pas fait prier pour ainsi dire… and good that we didn’t: Another simple dish, beid and awarma: amazingly simple, took us to new heights of flavor in its simplicity, I couldn’t stop eating, I wanted to but couldn’t, it was the perfect balance between fried eggs and an extremely well done homemade Awarma.

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Oh, and yes, I almost forgot, when you go there (not if, it’s just that cuz you have to) try two drinks: the laban and zaatar and the beetroot & carrots. Faites moi confiance and try it.

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Came the dessert: Apple and Biscuit in a jar with cinnamon: let’s just say that it beats any dessert served in Gemayzeh and mar Mkhayel combined HANDS DOWN, and when we thought we reached the Summum Bonum of all flavors, came the “ka2anna knefeh” a Osmalliye wrap filled with cheese covered with Ater… We both went out of words, all we could do is look at each other and smile, happy and amazed.

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It’s just when we were leaving that we realized another important thing: despite all what we ate, we felt light. And that is all thanks to the dough made by our teacher.

Lesson well learned Abdo, you reminded us that simple things are always the best, you took us back in time and brought us back on waves of flavors and passion.

We wish you all the success in the world

 

Gaston L’historien

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