The other night I went with a friend to Zaytoon's, (283 Smith St., at Sackett St., 718-875-1880), a most reliable restaurant for Middle Eastern food. It's great, and I never have a bad experience going there. It's small and cozy, the staff is friendly and the kitchen is amazingly efficient. There's hardly a wait for your food, which is delicious, and sometimes amazing.
I usually get the Combination Platter (any five of the appetizers and salads), and try to mix it up a bit, but I have my favorites. The Babaganouj is smoky and thick and the Hummus is creamy with a definite zip; both are a must have. On this trip I also ordered the Tabouleh (which is well balanced with parsley, tomato & cracked wheat and tart with lemon), the Cucumber Yoghurt (which is SO good; tangy and slightly sweet, with lots of slices of fresh cucumber - it's refreshing and delicious sopped up with fresh, hot pita bread), and the Lentil and Rice Salad (which is good, but a little on the dry side).
My friend and I shared that as well as an order of the Kafta Kabob Platter. This comes with charcoal grilled ground beef and chunks of lamb with onion, parsley & spices. I have never ordered this dish before, and it was good, but the meat was just the other side of too well done for my taste. I wished the pieces of meat were juicier. They were nicely flavored and slightly charred from the grill, and drizzled with tahini, with more hummus on the side as well as a serving of rice and salad. It was very tasty, but I'm not sure if I'd order it again.
Their other standard fare is great - like the falafel sandwiches, which come rolled up in pita instead of messily assembled in the pita's pocket. Their "pitza" is also delicious - the one with Fenugreek is amazing, as is their Goat Cheese Pitza with beef bacon which has got to be one of the tastiest meats out there.
Even though I was ever so slightly disappointed with the Kabob dish, I do love this place and would recommend it for a casual night out or for delivery. If you do go, remember that it's BYOB. With locations in Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights as well.