Mazza has been an essential element in Salt Lake City’s dining scene for over a decade now, winning numerous awards both locally and nationally for their amazing Middle Eastern food. Last Sunday I was invited to a wine pairing dinner showcasing some new dishes that will be upcoming specials or integrated as part of the menu.
Chef Ali explained that Middle Eastern food has such a wide range of flavors and that the night’s dishes would be a sampling to show the diversity and complexity of the food at Mazza. We tasted everything from vegetarian dishes to meaty ones, in familiar flavors and first-time tastes, all paired with three Lebanese wines (Kefraya Rosee du Chateau, Kefraya Comte de M and Chateau Musar, all available on their wine list).
We started with traditional Middle Eastern dishes like jeweled rice with chicken, garlic Labneh dip (a light yogurt and olive oil dip served with pita bread), roasted cauliflowers with tahineh dressing (although simple, it was one of my favorites of the night) and fish Tajen.
We moved onto a mixed green salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and fried pita bread, raw lamb kibbeh, pumpkin kibbeh with cashews and tomato kammooneh. I think everyone was a bit hesitant about the raw lamb, but the pumpkin kibbeh was really good (and vegetarian!).
Next came beef tongue “en persillade” (in a garlic parsley sauce), Mediterranean-style broiled wild prawns, stuffed zucchinis and eggplants, roasted quails and fried chicken livers. I was surprised how much I liked the beef tongue. I’d definitely order that again! The quail and zuccini were also delicious.
We finished the evening with Samantha’s Special Pudding, named after Mazza’s manager, and a tiny cashew baklava bite. By that point, everyone was thoroughly stuffed and entering an enjoyable food coma. Chef Ali definitely accomplished his goal of showing us the diversity (and deliciousness) of Middle Eastern food. As for now, a few of these dishes are available on their regular menu, but hopefully more will be implemented soon.
Go to Mazza for :: the incredible flavors you can’t find anywhere else. Be bold and try something new; you won’t regret it. Note :: Their menu is very vegan- and vegetarian-friendly, plus has a ton of gluten-free options. Reservations are available online.