Okay, I had to go to Nicholas Restaurant because of our recent Middle Eastern restaurant experience that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I love Nicholas. Their original location is on Grand in Portland but they have a location on Broadway and in Gresham, as well. I’ve been to the Broadway location and I like it but Grand is just our preference. They’ve been open there since 1986.
So they start you out with flying saucer-sized hot pita bread straight from their ovens and a dipping paste made of thyme, salt, sumac, oregano, sesame seeds and blended with olive oil (although I heard our served tell another table it’s actually blended with soy oil) that’s called zattar. It’s wonderful!
I always order the vegan mezza platter but I really should branch out. Their salmon kababs sound wonderful as does their kibbah be batata and foohl mudamas. The last two are vegan dishes.
The vegan mezza platter comes with humus, falafel balls sitting in tahini sauce, tabouli salad, mjadra and a garbanzo plate. I’m not a huge fan of tabouli salad but the mint flavor is enjoyable and it’s my salad for the evening. Everything else I could eat double of. The falafel balls pair fabulously with the tahini sauce they’re swimming in. I try not to scarf on the warm, soft pita bread so I can enjoy it with the humus that comes with my dinner. The garbanzo plate is simple but the spices give it an authentic flavor. My husband (the meat eater) is always jealous of my garbanzo plate. The mjadra is my favorite dish of all. You can actually order this dinner-sized and I really ought to sometime. It’s jasmine saffron rice, lentils, olive oil, spices, caramelized onions and cumin. Oh, my gosh, so simple but so amazing!
My husband ordered the meat mezza platter and made sure to substitute the tahziki for the mjadra which I’m glad he did so he wouldn’t eat bites of mine. He loves it as much as I do. I love lentils but who knew rice and lentils with perfectly-caramelized onions could be so cravable?
If you’ve not been to Nicholas, you’ve got to check it out. The service is always very friendly. I love the décor of the Grand location and the Broadway location has some unique roof-top seating. With the sunshine we’re having, it’s probably a popular spot this week.