BEST MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT Minneapolis 2001 - Sindbad's deli
Every time we step into this Eat Street storefront we're thrust into a crisis of sorts: Do we forgo the spinach pie ($2.59)--a comforting creation of spinach, sumac, onion, lemon, and olive oil--for the baba ghannouj, a smooth dip of smoky roasted eggplant and tahini? Do we go for the daily special--frequently a family-meal-size leg or shank of lamb cooked slowly in exotic spices--or the mujaddarah ($4.99), an anything-but-simple dish of rice and lentils garnished with caramelized onions? Typically, we dawdle at one of Sindbad's dozen tables, admiring the intricate fresco that graces the ceiling, until it's quite obvious that once again we're going to settle on the combination platter ($8.99 with meat, $6.99 veggie), a compromise that delivers portions of three of the dishes we can't resist, plus a Sindbad salad of diced tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley dressed with lemon, garlic, and olive oil. By now we're only too aware that our indecision means we won't have room for any baklava. And that's okay, because we can get any of the sweet treats crowded into Sindbad's groaning deli case to go.