Wine Pairing Dinner at Mazza

Jeweled rice with chicken and garlicky Labneh dip.

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 addressing the table of guests at Mazza.
Our massive table and Chef Ali explaining the food at Mazza.

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).

Jeweled rice with chicken and garlicky Labneh dip.
Jeweled rice with chicken and garlicky Labneh dip.

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.

Fattoush, raw lamb kibbeh and pumpkin kibbeh.
Fattoush, raw lamb kibbeh and pumpkin kibbeh.

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!).

Beef tongue (top left), broiled prawns, stuffed zucchinis and eggplants and roasted quails.
Beef tongue (top left), broiled prawns, stuffed zucchinis and eggplants and roasted quails.

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.

Samantha's Special Pudding finished off the night.
Samantha’s Special Pudding finished off the night.

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.

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  • Great food, great evening. I think the raw lamb kibbeh would do better with a smaller, elegant presentation to get over the “big bowl o raw meat” factor!

    • I agree! I think it immediately through people off when in reality, it wasn’t that bad. But overall, amazing dinner with a great crowd!

  • Wow. They do have a great selection of gluten-free – thanks for the tip! I see a meal at Mazza in my near future. Did you actually try the raw lamb?

    • Yes, I did! It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was one of those things where you had to get over the thought of it. Their gluten-free menu is spectacular. Sounds like we have a Mazza date coming up! :)

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