Suraya, Philadelphia, 5/22/21

building

Suraya is a Lebanese restaurant in Fishtown that started as a bakery and market.  In 2018 it opened a huge dining room and large outdoor patio for evening service.  Across from the seated area is the large open kitchen, surrounded by bar seating that was not used probably due to Covid.  Sections of the dining room have partitions between them.  Booth seating is matched with armed chairs with music in the background.  It is a striking, stylish place.  On weekends they have a brunch menu where you get a set of cold mezze served with pita and then chose a mashawi for a fixed price.  They also offer 2 possible sides and whatever pastries you want from the bakery.  A server brings your food, wine and whatever you might need but you order and pay through the QR code on the table.

Facility

bakery/coffee shop
bakery
market
Frankie found a little pot
interior
interior
interior
kitchen
kitchen with wood fire
bar counter

Food

menu
drinks
QR code
wine front
wine back

 

Cold Mezze

All your cold mezze arrive on one plate and the hot pita is in a paper bag.  Hummous is chickpeas seasoned with tehina, lemon and garlic.  It was flavorful with good smoothness.  Baba Ganoush is made with charred eggplant seasoned with tehina, lemon, garlic and urfa biber and then topped with pomegranate seeds.  I loved the crunch of the seeds and the wonderful charred eggplant flavor.  Labneh is strained yogurt finished with za’atar, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and mint. It was creamy and cheese-like.  Muhammara is a dip made with roasted red pepper and walnut seasoned with chili, cumin and pomegranate.  This was a favorite for me as it was wonderfully flavorful (sweet and nutty) with fun texture.  Taboulé is a parsley salad with cucumber, tomato, scallion and mint and seasoned with lemon and pomegranate molasses.  It was minty and fresh tasting.  All of the options were good and could be eaten with the pita bread or alone with a fork.

cold mezze
hummous
baba ganoush and labneh
Muhammara and Taboulé
Frankie looked it over
pita in bag
bitten and on the plate

 

Mashawi

For our bigger plates we ordered Shish Taouk which are yogurt marinated chicken kebabs served with a small hummous and a plate of charred onion, tomato and pepper.  The chicken was all white meat and some chunks were overcooked and too dry.  It was nicely charred and seasoned but many bites were inedible.  The small hummous was the like on the previous plate.  The side plate of charred vegetables was good and a generous portion.  The onion was a tad undercooked but otherwise good.  The tomatoes were fine and the peppers not spicy – they may have been pickled.  It was good to have to eat with the meats.

Frankie enjoyed the smells
Shish Taouk
onions, tomatoes and peppers

 

Kafta Kebab was 2 ground beef kebabs seasoned with cumin, mint, parsley and onion.  It was also served with a small hummous and a plate of charred onions, tomatoes and peppers.  These kebabs were much better than the chicken.  Topped with onions the ground beef was slightly pink inside and well sesaoned.  It was easy to split and a generous amount of wonderfully spicy, flavorful food.

onions, tomatoes and peppers

 

We got one side, Sumac spiced French fries.  They were thicker cut fries and coated with herbs and spices.  Fairly crisp with lots of potato flavor, they were served with a white dip a little like mayo, but vegetarian.  I found the dip mostly dull and it muffled the taste of the fries.  They were fun and tasty.

sumac spiced French fries

 

Dessert

From the bakery we ordered a Kouign Amann which is croissant like dough seasoned with green cardamom.  The flakey layers of pastry are coated with buttery glaze with a slightly doughy center.  It was really good.

Kouign Amann
side view
inside

A Brioche Sticky Bun contained  dates, walnuts and raisins.  The brioche pastry was topped with a caramel containing the nuts and raisins with some of them also being inside.  It was sweet, sticky and good.  There were a number of wonderful choices to try and would be worth going back for however both of our choices would have benefitted from a bit of heating.

Brioche sticky bun
side view
inside
Frankie tried to chose

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