To embrace Middle Eastern culture is to learn to enjoy overeating. Liberate yourself from those blindered Western values by throwing on a flowing, figure-concealing thobe and heading for this cultural island out west. The menu and service at al-Salam epitomize Middle Eastern generosity and hospitality in spirit, if not in the exact details; rather than press upon you a roasted filet of camel, Salam's gracious servers ply you with familiar Mediterranean dishes and a few scrumptious things that you probably haven't stumbled upon lately. Begin with a complementary starter of dates, olives, and pickled turnips. Move on to appetizers like kibi, hummus, and koddsieh ($3 to $7.49), then settle into the heart of your meal with selections from the evening buffet, which includes potatoes with tahini sauce, stuffed tomatoes, red peppers, and cabbage, chicken soup, and hummus ($11.99). Or try an order of shawerma ($7.99). It's considered polite to eat and pass plates with your right hand, so feel free to count calories with your left. A cup of cardamom-laced Arabic coffee is final proof of Allah's beneficence.
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