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Bateeni offers fresh, flavorful, healthy Mediterranean cuisine

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Bateeni Platter.

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mediterranean cuisine lends its name to culinary trends shared by a varied group of people that live in the region around the Mediterranean Sea. Exotic and lush in natural beauty, culture and customs, this region also is known for its rich and flavorful food. The mild Mediterranean climate yields an agricultural bounty that heavily influences the vegetable-dominant dishes. Main ingredients include olive oil, olives, eggplant, artichokes, squash, tomatoes, legumes, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers and a variety of greens and lettuces. Dominant spices include parsley, sumac, mint and lemon juice that when added to foods, create a unique and tantalizing flavor explosion.

Bateeni Mediterranean Grill & Cafe, 1868 W. Arlington Blvd., is keeping these culinary traditions alive and serving up authentic and tasty Mediterranean cuisine affording you fresh, healthy, flavorful pairings to keep your taste buds and body happy. Owner Asif Daher and his wife has been running Bateeni for four years. Cooking since age 7 and running restaurants for more than 15 years, Asif is “committed to providing you with an exceptional and tasty experience every time you walk through our doors or while ordering food for home or office.”

“The food we cook is the food we grew up on and also the food we grew to love, our moms’ and aunties’ food, the street food we always crave, the food we tried at our friends’ houses,” he said, “most of all, the things we miss from our childhood.”

The diverse menu consists of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees, kids’ meals, desserts and authentic drinks with prices ranging from $1.89-$14.95 with most items costing $6-$8. You can come on your lunch break, for dinner or on weekends and enjoy fresh, authentic taste brought from their homeland of Jerusalem directly to your table. 

Let’s start with a fresh summer drink, Lemonade with mint. Lime green in color, it has a smooth lemon flavor, and sweet mint is the main attraction. It’s a refreshing palate cleanser to get your body ready for summer for $3.95.

Next, let’s partake in traditional appetizer items that are at the forefront of Mediterranean cuisine in the Bateeni Platter. This assortment of colorful items provides array of tastes, textures and colors with tabbolah, falafel, marinated cabbage, taziki, marinated grape leaves, hummus, baba ghanouj and kalamata olives.

Tabbolah is a bright green, cold salad made with finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur (cracked wheat) and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and salt. It’s often called “pharmacy salad” for its health benefits because parsley is a breath freshener and is considered good for the kidneys. Falafel is a deep-fried patty made from ground chickpeas, green peppers, onions, garlic and parsley. It’s fried in peanut oil and dusted with sesame seeds, so it has a deep crunch on the outside and inside is soft, warm and light. The red cabbage is zesty and fresh, marinated in lemon juice, oregano, mint and salt. Cabbage is a natural insulin and a great choice for diabetics. The taziki is a cold dip made with yogurt, lemon juice, mint, oregano, ginger and olive oil. It’s cool, fresh and tangy. The hummus is pureed chickpeas with seasonings drizzled with glossy olive oil. It’s nutty, cream and savory. The other dip is baba ghanouj, which is made by roasting eggplant, peeling and mixing it with mint, tahini sauce (roasted sesame seeds) and lemon juice. This dip has a deep, smoky and earthy flavor.

Top off this platter with stuffed grape leaves, which are stuffed with white rice mixed with mint and lemon juice. They are a vegetarian delight. This entire platter was vibrant and healthy and will make your taste buds sing.

Another Mediterranean favorite is the gyro platter. The gyro meat is made with 60 percent lamb and 40 percent beef that is ground and mixed with herbs, spices and then cut into strips. Instead of putting the meat on an upright spinner, Bateeni opts to cook it on the grill, which allows the meat to obtain a crisp top crust and a tender inside that retains more of its own juices. The meat is added to a pita with sliced red onion, lettuce, tomato, and taziki sauce. This dish comes with fries or a Greek salad for $6.95. The Greek salad is a mix of lettuce, tomato, crumbled feta cheese and kalamata olives drizzled with a light oil-based dressing.

A gyro is one of my all-time favorite dishes with its classic taste. It’s fresh and healthy, and healthy at Bateeni never tasted so good! No matter how you pronounce this addictive $6.95 dish, it will be your new favorite taste to savor!

Don’t forget about ending your meal with one of the authentic desserts like the baklava (honey and nut dessert bar), knafa (cheese dessert bar), or a fanana, which is a banana wrapped in a tortilla, deep fried and served with dipping sauce.

Daily specials are offered Monday-Thursday. On Monday and Thursday, enjoy a falafal sandwich with fries for $4.99. Tuesday is chicken shawarma sandwich with fries for $4.99, or try the gyro with fries for $4.99 on Wednesday.

Bateeni is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday. Catering is available. For more information, call 689-6222 or visit the website www.bateeni.com.

Bone Appetit

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina will host a Bone Appetit fundraising event from from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Famiglia, 740 W. Fire Tower Road, Winterville. A percentage of all food and drink sales will be donated to HSEC. Write “for HSEC” on the receipt and alert the server.

Barks & Brews

Pitt Street Brewing Co., 630 S. Pitt St., will host Barks & Brews, a Humane Society of Eastern Carolina fundraiser, from 5-8 p.m. June 15. Twenty-five percent of purchases will be donated to HSEC. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are permitted on the patio.

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