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Mazadar’s Smooth Move

March 6, 2019

Last night Mazadar Mediterranean Kitchen brought the fire.

They hosted the March Official Yelp Event, which was appropriately called, Find Your Delicious at Mazadar. It’s clever, because Mazadar actually means “delicious” and the event was designed to provide a broad tasting of the menu. The goal was for attendees—mostly members of the Yelp Elite Squad—to discover a dish that they loved.

Well, it worked. Perhaps even better than I expected. Because everyone I spoke with walked away with a new favorite item from the menu, based on their own personal tastes. And as it turns out, I was floored by something I never would have ordered if left to my own devices.

Before heading out to Mazadar, I whipped up a little hummus for the family.

Hummus is dish a make at home with some frequency. I can crank out a quick and easy version of it using canned chickpeas. But if I’m feeling especially motivated or preparing hummus for Israelis, I’ll take the time to soak dried chickpeas. More importantly I’ll put in the effort to peel each bean by hand to make sure the end product properly smooth. But it’s an incredible pain in the ass.

Last night, my family got hummus from unskinned canned chickpeas. And despite the shortcuts, it’s still far far better than anything you can buy at the supermarket.

To supplement that, Mrs. Fussy microwaved frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s. Great falafel is one of those things I’ve simply given up looking for in the Capital Region. Because those chickpea patties really need to be fried to order, so they are served hot, crisp, and tender. As lackluster as the Trader Joe’s product may be, it’s roughly on par with the average falafel you’ll find around these parts.

Mahmood Faiz, the owner of Mazadar, is all about the meats. He’s not that crazy about falafel. But will it surprise anyone to learn that some of my favorite foods of the night were the dishes that were fried?

I broke off a chunk of the hot and crisp falafel, and dragged it through the plate of hummus. Mazadar’s hummus is remarkably smooth. It’s so smooth, that someone asked Mahmood to reveal his secret.

It turns out, he removes the skins from the chickpeas. Boom!

What’s even more remarkable is that in the past I’ve spoken with another local chef about going through this process, and was told that it’s just too time intensive a step in a high volume restaurant kitchen. But this is just one of many time intensive preparations that make Mazadar special. From fermenting yogurt, to marinating the meats for days, to the twenty-four hour process of cooking the rice, Mazadar is not cutting corners on traditional techniques.

As a side note, the other unexpectedly delicious thing I enjoyed last night was the vegetable bolani, a fried bread that’s filled with a combination of leeks and green onions. I’ve had the potato version elsewhere, but my mind reeled at the juxtaposition of healthful dark leafy greens encased in a deep fried white flour pocket. Plus the vegetables inside were cooked to the point of being tender, but still maintaining their color and texture.

More deep fried goodness.

Which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the skewered meats or the other appetizers. Everyone has their favorites. Of the meats, that beef kofta kabob was my jam. It was unexpectedly spicy, and I found that particularly delicious. The combination of beef and lamb, well seasoned, and served over aromatic rice was fantastic. On my next visit, I’m going to try it in a wrap.

Wrap is really the wrong word. Because far too often “wrap” implies food that’s encased in an industrially produced flour tortilla, and those are just awful. These are wrapped in “Mazadar naan” which is more like a large pita, and I suspect it will be fantastic.

The lesson I learned is to be wary of my own snobbery. My deep love for hummus and falafel would have prevented me from trying these on my own. Thankfully I was able to participate in this tasting, and came away all the wiser. Not just about the food at Mazadar, but also about my own predispositions.

It’s a great reminder to try and keep your mind as open as possible. Otherwise, some of life’s deliciousness might elude you.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2019 12:54 pm

    This event at Mazadar sounds like it was amazing. How can a I get involved in your next event?

    • March 6, 2019 1:20 pm

      Yelp events are for active members of the Yelp community. If you have a Yelp profile, and your account settings allow for email, then you should be receiving the Local Yelp newsletter. That has reminders to check out where you can go to request a spot on the guest list for upcoming Official Yelp Events. If not, setting up a new profile or adjusting your settings, is quick and easy.

      It’s less easy to score a spot the guest list for OYEs. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from trying. These are typically given to the most active and trustworthy members of the Yelp community. But if you give Yelping a try, and find you enjoy getting the word out about your favorite local businesses, then it kind of just becomes a habit.

  2. March 7, 2019 9:33 am

    Have you tried the Trader Joes falafel mix? Not as easy as microwaving some frozen ones- but definitely not complicated.

  3. albanylandlord permalink
    March 9, 2019 2:00 pm

    That event was really eye opening. The dedication of Mazadar to putting in so much time and effort on so many of their items really is unusual and stands out. The results of all that time and effort stand out even more – Man that was some good food. I’ve already been back.

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