Sunday, July 13, 2014

Papa Ganouj

Considering what owner Khaled "K" Rahhal has meant to young Tulsans over the years, a restaurant named "Papa" seems appropriate.  I can only speculate what Ganouj translates to... maybe "made with passion"? The love for colorful, beautiful, flavorful food certainly shines through in all of the dishes at Papa Ganouj. Warning: this post contains much deserved gushing.

We started with an appetizer called Chicken Baklava. Tender, moist roasted chicken chunks artfully wrapped in flaky phyllo dough and drizzled with honey and pistachios with a swoosh of harissa on the plate. This is one of the best things I've ever eaten. I've craved this every day since we ate at Papa Ganouj on their first night to be officially open. I now expect everything I eat to be wrapped in phyllo dough. How could that not make a thing better? Here it is in all its splendor...

Next came the mezze, and we did the "Choose Two" option with mussels and dates and figs. Mussels were tender and perfectly cooked. The dates and figs provided a nice sweetness to play off of...

For our entrees, Hubby chose the Shawarma and I had the Coq Au Vin, made with white wine, presumably because it's summertime. I meant to mention that the menu is Mediterranean/French. I loved the pearl pasta served with the dish, giving me something of an excuse to eat spoonfuls of the delicious sauce. This whole dish was as perfectly an executed dish as I've ever had. The ambience at Papa Ganouj is casual and sleek, but while I ate this dish, I felt like royalty. It's like someone created a work of art just for me, knowing it would be destroyed in about twenty minutes. I told you'd I'd gush. Here is the masterpiece...

We had filled ourselves with amazing food all night, but had to take it over the top with one of their desserts made in-house. This was something they called "coffee and donuts". It's a cup of mocha-flavored mousse and a delicious flourless chocolate cake. Nicely balanced, not too sweet, and a perfect way to top off a spectacular meal.

We had a fantastic time and it's important to note, since it was the first official night, that the staff was not only well-versed in the menu, but had great enthusiasm for the food they were serving. We were well taken care of, and made to feel like our business was appreciated. All in all, this restaurant is poised to be a big success, and we will be its biggest cheerleaders. Go Papa!

Papa Ganouj on Urbanspoon

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