Disclaimer: This meal was comped.
A close friend and ex-Westmount neighbor of ours recently relocated his family to Laval's Chomedey district. It wasn't long before he informed us of – and raved about – a new Syrian restaurant that opened in the area right before the end of last year.
When a couple weeks ago we received an unrelated invitation from the owners to sample their offering, as Syrians ourselves we couldn't say no. Luckily the suburban setting offering ample parking space came in handy on this snowy Friday night.
tagged: TAKE THE CAR
No detail has been spared in converting the spacious interior into a contemporary, sophisticated space with a distinct oriental feel. A color palette reflecting the Syrian flag is paired up with Arabic calligraphy, oriental mosaics, and matching brass lanterns.
A sparsely-occupied "atrium" area featured an oud – Arabian stringed instrument – musician delighting the large, primarily-Arab family gatherings seated along the surrounding tables where all the action was taking place.
The nine-page menu runs the gamut of Levantine restaurant offerings from back home, with an emphasis on specialties from the city of Aleppo, known as Beroya to the Greeks of antiquity.
Salads, mezzes and kibbehs are followed by charcoal-grilled kababs, meats and sides, each in a dozen varieties. Our waitress suggested we go for the tasting menu which, at $79 for two, considering the diversity and quantity served, proved to be a great bet.
"mixed veggies, fried pita, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, sumac"
"beet & lettuce with oriental dressing"
"muhammara, yalanji, hummus, Aleppo mortadella, eggplant mutabbal, homemade pita"
"habret samak, sujuk rolls, baladi cheese rolls, fried kibbeh hamis, batata mtafayeh"
"charcoal-grilled Aleppo kabab, shish taouk, filet mignon kabab, garnishes"
"semolina & cheese pastry stuffed with ashta served with pistachios & sugar syrup"
The story of Beroya is one of uprooting and starting anew. Three years ago, restaurateur Tamer left his war-torn hometown of Aleppo seeking asylum in Canada. Once here, his purpose was to pay homage to his land's culinary heritage while recreating as authentic a dining experience as possible; and boy does the outcome ring close to home!
Between the décor, live performance, family vibe and exhaustive menu, this is as genuine as it gets in greater Montreal. To answer former USA presidential hopeful Gary Johnson's famously-ignorant question "What is Aleppo?": You're looking right at it!
Price per person: $39.50
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.