Ballantyne Magazine

SUMMER 2014

Ballantyne Magazine covers news, events, real estate, restaurants, shopping, health, schools and business in the upscale Ballantyne Area of Charlotte, NC.

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Flaunting Flavor Zeitouni Grill is a Mediterranean Delight By Amy Rogers Photos by Ray Sepesy IN A PLACE WHERE NEARLY EVERYTHING IS NEW, at a time when most things happen in a hurry, slowing down to enjoy one of the world's oldest cuisines can be a welcome change of pace. Stepping inside Zeitouni Mediterranean Grill in Toringdon Market is less like dining in the suburbs and more like visiting an eatery in a cosmopolitan city. And that's a good thing. Zeitouni is the family name of the restaurant's Lebanese owners, and it means olive. Like its namesake fruit, the small dining spot looks unassuming but packs a lot of flavor. The cuisine is casual, but it's not fast food. The restaurant is busy but not rushed. Often, there's a line while customers waiting Everything is prepared fresh, using traditional family recipes handed down by Wassim Zeitouni's mother and uncles. Wassim Zeitouni Za'atar (bottom left) is a toasted fatbread served with olives, tomatoes and fresh herbs as toppings. Hummus and Turkish- style coffee round out the light meal. Fattoush (left) and tabbouleh are salad favorites. for tables rub elbows with people picking up take-out orders. Proprietor Wassim Zeitouni cautions with a smile, "We make you wait 10 or 15 minutes." It's worth it. Everything at Zeitouni Grill is prepared fresh, using traditional family recipes handed down by Zeitouni's mother and uncles. Flash-fried Falafel The falafel are handmade from fava beans seasoned with cilantro, parsley, garlic and a mix of spices imported from Lebanon. They are flash-fried instead of deep-fried, which makes them crispy outside and tender inside. Za'atar is a toasted flatbread topped with chopped tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs and mint. Light and crisp for a simple lunch, za'atar is most often served for breakfast in Lebanon, Zeitouni explains. The sesame-seed paste known as tahini is a versatile ingredient in both ancient and modern Mediterranean dishes. Blended with chickpeas, garlic and lemon, it forms a thick hummus enjoyed as a spread for bread and vegetables. Stirred with oil and spices, BALLANTYNE MAGAZINE 53 SUMMER 2014 Ball Summer 14 - 2.indd 53 5/21/14 4:30 PM

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