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Baba - Fine Lebanese Cuisine
on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Pebble Road, this family-fun
Lebanese restaurant is a true jewel. Serving only the finest and
freshest ingredients (no cans or chemicals allowed), Ali Baba has
become the only restaurant in Las Vegas to provide a true essence
of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.
considered a “health food,” Lebanese cuisine is mostly
based on a large and varied assortment of fresh vegetables, wheat
and dairy products, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, and a
unique blend of traditional herbs and spices.
Baba is proud to present these traditional recipes prepared with
love by Master Lebanese Chefs. Their select cuts of meats, freshly
baked breads, and delectable pastries are served in a clean, sanitary
environment where the dream-like, palace atmosphere with hanging
chandeliers and hand-painted murals allows diners to relax and enjoy
the food that has been specially made for them.
a variety of menu items from cold and hot appetizers to soups and
entrees, Ali Baba does not disappoint. Enjoy the very best of tasty
appetizers, such as baba ghanouj (char-grilled eggplant dip with
cream of sesame oil, fresh garlic, and lemon juice) on fresh baked
pita bread, or the ever-famous Mezza, which includes baba ghanouj,
hommos, tabbouleh, labneh, falafel and grape leaves.
a delicious entrée, patrons have a variety of chicken, beef,
lamb, and seafood options to choose from. The beef shawarma is a
must-have with tender beef and lamb marinated for over 12 hours
with traditional spices slowly cooked in their vertical broiler
and served with teheni sauce and hommos.
top it off, an array of desserts and drinks are available. Enjoy
the great flavor of one of their many dessert creations, such as
Lebanese rice pudding (flavored rice pudding with rose water topped
with nuts), with a wide variety of beverages including raspberry
iced tea, Turkish coffee, hot tea, Lebanese wine, Arak, beers, and
after dinner drinks sure to satisfy any thirst.
favorite is the lunch buffet, which offers a world-famous lentil
soup, several salads, hot and cold menu items, and a range of dessert
items. Available from 11 AM to 3 PM daily, the mouth-watering buffet
has baba ghanouj, hommos, tabbouleh, grape leaves, kebbeh balls,
stuffed zucchini, and much more. They also offer filet minion kabobs
with great food and exceptional, friendly service at Ali Baba, is
the entertainment. Every night, guests can enjoy a pianist at 6
PM, a belly dancer at 7 PM or 7:30 PM, hookah at 9 PM (herbal tobacco),
as well as a live band every Friday and Saturday night to help get
people up and moving on the dance floor…that is, if you can
after all that great food!
only is Ali Baba a great place to eat and be entertained, but it
is also the perfect setting for any memorable event. Their graciously
designed and elegant dining room can accommodate a guest list from
20 to 200 people or more and their menu is designed to fit any budget.
They can create custom menus, devise themes, and plan schematics
on or off the premises to ensure an event is both memorable and
professional in everyway.
Baba is located at 8826 South Eastern Avenue and is open at 11 AM
daily. For more information, please call 702-688-4182.
TASTE: Middle East Eats Ali Baba's Lebanese cuisine deserves
to be experienced
Ali Baba 8826 S. Eastern
Ave., 688-4182. Hours:
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday;
until 1 a.m. Friday-Sunday. Suggested
dishes: makdous, $6;
shankleesh, $7; kibbeh balls,
$7; quail appetizer, $12; Sultan
Ibrahim, $18; mamoul, $6.
Photo by Iris Dumuk
Baba is the most ambitious Lebanese restaurant
to open here since Leyla at the MGM Grand, and
here's hoping it experiences a better fate. Lebanese
cuisine, along with Turkish, is the pride of its
region. It's also vastly underappreciated in this
country, unless you happen to live in New York
or Los Angeles.
Leyla, run by a Lebanese company called Idarat,
served fancy dishes such as raw lamb mixed with
bulgur wheat, shrimp wrapped in shredded wheat
crusts, and delicious fish preparations. Unfortunately,
it was ahead of its time and eventually replaced
by Michael Mina's Seablue.
Ali Baba may be location-challenged as well. It's
next to Colonnade Cinemas, in a minimall on the
corner of Eastern and Pebble. This mall, incidentally,
is no stranger to good eating. A few choices here
are the Cuban café Havana Grill; Jun's, a Korean
lunch spot; and Vegas Diner, traditional American
fare in a retro setting.
But this newest addition is the mall's unquestioned
star, an alabaster and gold palace with gaudy
columns, dreamlike murals and tables draped in
red and gold. At least a dozen Tiffany lamps hang
suspended from the crimson-hued ceiling. Tables
are set with glass bottles topped with green spouts,
which hold the extra virgin olive oil that you
will mix with your complimentary dish of za-atar,
thyme and other herbs tossed with toasted sesame
seeds, which you eat smeared on rounds of puffy
I like to come here for a quiet lunch, when the
only sounds are soft Arabic-language music videos
playing on one of the restaurant's plasma-screens.
It's more rousing in the evening, thanks to a
live band that performs nightly, plus actual belly
The glory of Lebanese cuisine is mezze, hot and
cold appetizers that fill the table when Lebanese
people have any say in the matter. Ali Baba serves
almost 30 of them, not just the usual hummus,
tabbouleh and baba ghannouj, but creative, delicious
dishes you won't find anywhere else in the city.
From the cold side, try makdous, pickled eggplant
stuffed with walnuts and garlic; or shankleesh,
aged white cheese mixed with oregano, sumac leaves,
sesame seeds, onions, tomatoes, parsley and olive
I love fattoush, a lemony salad of Romaine lettuce,
cucumber, tomato, mint and garlic, tossed with
crunchy pita croutons. Kibbeh nayya is made with
beef here, instead of the traditional lamb. It's
the Lebanese version of steak tartare, and irresistible.
The hot appetizers are even harder to resist.
Kibbeh are fried balls of cracked wheat mixed
with ground meat, filled with more ground meat
and pine nuts. There are more than a dozen other
choices, such as makanek, clove-scented sausages
sautéed with tomatoes and onions; or sojouk, a
spicier version; lahim bei ajin, little meat pies
studded with pine nuts (they're big on pine nuts
here); or broiled quail, a pair of whole birds
redolent of garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and
cilantro, all quite Mediterranean.
I'm content just to make a meal of mezze, but
there are a slew of main dishes I like, too. All
the kabobs are marinated and taste it, and there
are a few stir-fries, made from spicy chicken,
lamb and salmon, all good with the rice and lentil
pilaf they are served with. Save room for Sultan
Ibrahim, deep-fried or char-grilled mullet served
with French fries and tartar sauce.
For lunch, try the shawarma sandwich, a combination
of lamb and beef seasoned and cooked on a vertical
broiler, two sandwiches wrapped in pita bread
and wax paper, each stuffed with tahini sauce,
onions, tomato and pickled vegetables. Served
with spiced fries and a dish of olives and beets,
this may be, at $6, the best deal in Henderson.
Let's not neglect the desserts, even if only a
few of them are made every day. If they have kuneifi,
don't miss it. It's a flaky pastry filled with
a hot, sweet cheese drenched with honeyed syrup,
one of the most sensual desserts in all of the
Middle East. Naturally there is baklava, a tender
version overflowing with minced pistachios and
walnuts, although I prefer mine without the rosewater
perfumes of these. I am, though, a sucker for
these homemade mamoul, rich, buttery cookies filled
with a choice of date, pistachio or walnut, the
perfect complement to a muddy java, Arab-style.
ALI BABA OFFERS a treasure of authentic and classic
Ali Baba, Authentic
Lebanese Cuisine, features the classic creations of international
Executive Chef Dany Chebat. His background ensures the authenticity
of this ancient cuisine, with quality and flavors that will not
Chebat, a Lebanese
native who is in sync with the cuisine of his heritage, received
his formal culinary education in French and Lebanese gastronomy
in Beirut, and has held chef positions at several 5-star InterContinental
Lebanese cuisine is
internationally popular, rich in history, and sets the standards
for other Middle Eastern cuisine. It is healthful, flavorful, and
combines ingredients from the Mediterranean with herbs and spices
from the East.
It is customary to
begin dinner with mezza, an array of hot and cold appetizers. Ali
Baba's array of mezza that can be ordered a la carte or pre fixe,
are second to none.
RESTAURANT: Ali Baba Authentic Lebanese Cuisine. WHERE: 8826 S. Eastern Ave. in Colonnade Square. HOURS: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (until 1 a.m. Friday -
Sunday). RESERVATIONS: Accepted. PHONE: 688-4182
Most popular mezza are hommos, tabbouleh, baba
ghanouj, and stuffed grape leaves. Premium Arak, Lebanon's anise
flavored alcoholic beverage, is the perfect accompaniment for mezza.
Savory main courses
served with vegetables and basmti rice delights as well. Ali Baba's
Basmati rice with its rich aroma, texture, and taste is the epitome
of fine rice.
"Every item qualifies
as a signature dish, as each is authentic", chebat says. Perfectly
char-grilled kabbs include choice of lamb, beef, chicken and flavorful
kafta (ground beef mixed with parsley, onions and exotic spices).
"We want the main product to stand out, therefore we only use
light marinade to enhance the flavor," the chef explains.
chicken, marinated quail, and samke hara (traditional Lebanese fish)
baked and served with two specially sauces, are available as well.
Ali Baba's wine list
is adequate, with several selections from various countries. I suggest
the Lebanese Ksara, a full-bodied red, or Massaya.
Desserts are delicacies known for their light-yet-sweet characteristic.
Rose water and orange blossom water, walnuts and pistachio nuts,
and filo dough are key ingredients to many desserts and Ali Baba's
selections are the real deal, to be enjoyed with Middle East coffee.
The ambience and decor
with wall murals enhance the dining experience, as does the live
exotic music and traditional belly dancers for a complete festive
"We fill a niche
in the community by offering fine dining, ambience and service with
reasonable price points," says general manager Stephen Bellofatto,
a 30-year Las Vegas restaurateur. "We take pleasure in accommodating
Kabob Combo (counterclockwise from opposite page) is served at comfortable
tables where diners may also choose cold appetizers such as tabbouleh,
hommos, baba ghanouj and stuffed grape leaves and feast in a richly
decorated setting. The lamb chop entree is another favorite at Ali
Voted No. 1 for
- The Ultimate Guide to Las Vegas
and Pita bread
Baba serves up a sensory overload of the
tastes of the Mediterranean in what can best
be described as a ‘Vegas meets the Middle
In the same way you have to make a conscious effort to ‘start
eating healthy’ so it is too with trying out Ali Baba restaurant.
It sits in a strip mall, just one restaurant among the many that
line Colonnade Square. Step inside Ali Baba, though, and it’s
a completely different matter, possibly a different world altogether.
Almost a year in the making, Ali Baba spared no expense in terms
of decorating and aiming to serve the finest Lebanese cuisine
in all of Las Vegas. The walls are decked with murals an gold
drapes adorn the main entrance, perhaps to complement the red
and gold interior and numerous Tiffany lamps suspended from the
ceiling. If it wasn’t for the giant TV screens playing videos
of what can be described as ‘MTV Middle East,’ you might think
you’re a guest at some dignitary’s home.
The food is no less elaborate even if Lebanese cuisine is deceptively
simple. Deceptive because while it is fairly easy to prepare and
only uses a handful of ingredients, it demands that the ingredients
used be the freshest and of the best quality. There is no room
for shortcuts here, otherwise you would be missing the point of
Lebanese cuisine. Chef Dany Chebat add, “The ingredients are fresh
and I make all the pastries and bread by hand – none of that frozen
We started off with zaatar, a homemade dip comprising ground
coriander seeds, toasted sesame seeds, Lebanese oregano, sumac
and olive oil; this served as a perfect complement to the homemade,
straight-from-the-oven-hot pita bread. No corners are cut at Ali
Sambousek, Fatayer and
We then opted for a mezza figuring it was the best way to get
a representative sample of the cuisine. Similar to tapas in Spain,
mezze is an array of small dishes which may be as simple as hommos,
pickled vegetables and bread or as much as thirty hot and cold
dishes. At Ali Baba, small doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have
to order more. Ours consisted of tabbouleh (minced parsley salad
with diced tomatoes and onions), hommos (chick pea dip with tahini),
baba ghanouj (char-grilled eggplant dip with tahini), labneh (homemade
topped with olive oil and mint), mjaddara (brown lentil cooked
with rice, sautéed onions, olive oil and spices). In addition
to the cold appetizers, we also had stuffed grape leaves and a
selection of pies - sambousek (cheese pie), fatayer (spinach pie)
and lahim bel-ajin (meat).
Stuffed grape leaves
We would be hard-pressed to pick any favorites as all of them
were superb, but if we had to single out a few that we kept on
‘sampling,’ it would have to be the tabbouleh because it had the
right kick and hint of lemon to give the salad that ‘zing,’; the
baba ghanouj because the eggplant’s rich, smoky flavor is apparent
in every spoonful, and the mjaddara, though not much to look at
(it is brown lentils, after all), more than makes up for in taste
with the right combination of spices and onions bringing out the
flavor of the lentils and rice.
Nine plates later and we couldn’t summon up any room to sample
a main courses or even dessert. But if the mezze was anything
to go by, then make sure you order their specialties, namely the
chicken shawarma, (broiled chicken marinated for over 12 hours
in traditional herbs and spices), or any of the kabobs which are
given the same attention-to-detail as the rest of the items on
the menu. If you’re dining alone or coming for a quick lunch,
our waiter, Peter, suggests you order one appetizer and perhaps
a shawarma sandwich for a sampling of cuisine. Be warned though,
the sandwiches come with french fries and the serving portions
are fairly substantial.
In this day and age, where we live in the world of fast food,
do yourself and your taste buds a favor and come to Ali Baba Restaurant.
The cuisine is excellent and apparently, good for your health
too, proof that you don’t have to restrict yourself to salads
to eat healthy.
Ali Baba Restaurant
8826 S. Eastern Ave., Colonnade Square (corner of Eastern and
Pebble). 688-4182. Ali Baba is open daily for lunch and dinner,
from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Take-out also available. Price range:
Appetizers - between $6 and $12 per plate, entrees - from $12
to $22, desserts from $6 to $8.
it comes to international fare, Las Vegas has a good variety of
Italian, Mexican and Asian cuisine for a business lunch.
But when it comes
to food from the Middle East, there isn’t quite as much with a smattering
of Persian and Iranian locations available around the valley.
Now Henderson has
the newest entry in the market that is quickly growing in popularity
by word of mouth.
Ali Baba, which specializes
in Lebanese food, opened its doors about a month ago, and owner
Maurice Sweiss said community buzz has gotten so strong that tourists
are seeking out the restaurant and businesspeople are drawn by the
authenticity of the food.
“Nothing comes out
of a can,” Sweiss said. “We pride ourselves in offering the best
ingredients of any restaurant at extremely reasonable prices. There’s
no lard, no chemicals, no preservatives. It’s original Arabic food.”
The traditional food,
prepared by three Lebanese chefs, is served in a traditional style
called “mezza,” which is a mix of cold and hot appetizers. Among
the most popular offerings are hummus and tabouli (which appear
on the menu with their more traditional Middle Eastern spellings)
and baba ghanouj, stuffed grape leaves, kebbeh balls, falafel, fatayer
and lahim bei ajin.
Fear not: The dishes
and their ingredients are well described on the menu. For example,
baba ghanouj is a char-grilled eggplant dip with cream of sesame
oil, fresh garlic and lemon juice; fatayer is fresh spinach with
onions, pine nuts, summak, lemon juice and olive oil in a freshly
baked pastry shell.
Most of the cold and
Ali Baba owners Hilda
and Maurice Sweiss enjoy lunch at their recently opened Lebanese
restaurant off of Eastern Avenue. Below, a variety of traditional
Lebanese dishes is shown. PHOTOS BY
TIFFANY BROWN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
range from $6 to $8, but a selection of several dishes
is offered as mezza (seven items for $25) and grand mezza (12 items
red lentil soup and a soup du jour are offered daily, and
the cold appetizer list includes some salads and vegetable
sandwiches, served on pita bread, range from $7 to $9 and
are served with french fries. Selections include a beef shish-kabob
sandwich with grilled beef, seasoned onions, tomatoes, pickles
and garlic and a falafel sandwich, a vegetarian dish with
chickpeas, fava beans and spices, deep fried in vegetable
oil and topped with tahini sauce, tomatoes and a pickle.
may favor the entrees that include a selection of dishes with
chicken and quail, beef, lamb and seafood with prices ranging
from $12 to $22. A kabob combo for $40 serves two and offers
a skewer each of chicken, kafta, beef and lamb and includes
a soup or salad and a side of hummus.
The dessert menu ranges from $6 to $8 and includes Lebanese
rice pudding and ice cream and knafeh, a homemade roasted dough
stuffed with cheese, baked and sweetened with a special syrup.
Ali Baba is easily
accessible at Eastern Avenue and Pebble Road, just north of
Interstate 215. Because it’s at the Colonnade Square shopping
center, there’s plenty of parking.
restaurant offers takeout and catering and will deliver on orders
of more than $40. After 7 p.m., there’s live music and belly
dancing and during the lunch hour, Middle Eastern music videos
are shown on several television monitors throughout the restaurant.
Sweiss said at night, Ali Baba’s 240 seats have been filling,
making lunch a good option to try something new.
is becoming a Mecca for Mediterranean food and Ali Baba Authentic Lebanese
Cuisine (688-4182) is one of the newer and better ones on the block.
Lebanese food is popular
because, besides being good, it is healthy. The menu is based on assorted
vegetables, wheat and dairy products, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic,
and a unique blend of traditional herbs and spices.
“Nothing comes out of a
can,” said owner Maurice Sweiss. “We offer the best ingredients and I
assure you it is original Arabic food. I know because all three of my
chefs are Lebanese.”
The food in this beautiful
240-seat restaurant (colorful murals and handmade Tiffany lamps) is served
in the traditional “mezza-style,” a mix of cold and hot appetizers. Among
the more popular offerings are hummus, tabouli, baba ghanouj
eggplant dip with cream of sesame oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice), stuffed
grape leaves, kebbeh balls, falafel, fatayer (spinach pie), makdous (pickled
eggplant stuffed with walnuts and garlic), and lahim bei ajin (ground
beef with onion, tomatoes and pine nuts in a baked pastry shell).
Chicken, kafta, beef, and
lamb kabobs are marinated and the most popular is the combo that includes
one skewer of each. It serves two and comes with a choice of soup or salad
and a side of hummus. One of the soups is the traditional red lentil soup
with sautéed onions in extra virgin olive oil.
There are seven sandwiches
served on pita bread with French fries. Selections include beef shish-kabob
with grilled beef, seasoned onions, tomatoes, pickles and garlic; shawarma,
a combination of seasoned lamb and beef; and the vegetarian falafel with
chickpeas, fava beans and spices, topped with tahini sauce, tomatoes and
Highlighting the dessert
Lebanese rice pudding, baklava, ice cream, knafeh (roasted dough stuffed
with cheese, baked and sweetened with a special syrup), and homemade buttery
cookies called mamoul that are filled with a choice of dates, pistachios
Ali Baba is at 8826 South
Eastern Ave. at East Pebble Road next to the Colonnade Cinemas. It opens
daily at 11 a.m. There is live music and belly dancing after 7 p.m.
Source: Las Vegas Israelite | March 30, 2007 Page 36