BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT (1999)
In a metropolitan area where diners seem to think that Greece is in the Middle East or vice versa, finding great food in this category can be tough. This ten-year-old, family-owned bistro does offer a Greek salad, but much of the fare is far less standard and more interesting: Consider the kashke bademjon, a savory sauté of eggplant, onions, and mint drizzled with a yogurt-based sauce. It's delicious either as an appetizer ($3.95) atop the fresh pitas that arrive hot at every table, or spooned over basmati rice as an entrée ($7.95). Caspian's version of tabouli is a refreshing parsley-based salad studded with flecks of bulgur, rather than the wheat-based dish many restaurants serve. While the majority of the appetizers and salads are vegetarian, the entrées lean toward beef, lamb, and chicken. After a meal, spend a few minutes perusing the two aisles of Middle Eastern groceries near the front door.