1.09.2008

Me Jana

Let me start off on the positives. The restaurants is strikingly pretty. It has a great bar to grab some drinks, and very attractive décor throughout. The owner is also especially nice and welcoming. That’s where it ends for me. I just wasn’t that impressed with the food, and I’m not sure what all the hype is about. We went with a group of 6, and our overall consensus was to stick with Neyla (and even Lebanese Taverna). Neyla, my favorite Lebanese joint, serves a much tastier version of everything we ordered. Now, had I not experienced great Lebanese food before, I might have actually enjoyed Me Jana. So, maybe it’s the Lebanese “newbies” creating all the hype.

We started out with super warm pitas that came with olives, yogurt dip, and spices. The bread was great, but wasn’t superior to other places. Actually, the bread was the best part here, so I pretty much filled up on a lot of that. It kept coming all night, so that was a plus.

So, we ordered mezzes for the table as follows:

- Hommos- The texture wasn’t creamy enough for me and almost a little grainy.
- Kafta Kebob- Not enough spice for me.
- Lamb Chops- These were inherently flavorful, as the lamb nicely charred to medium rare. But, again, I wanted some more flavor!
- Potato Kibbe stuffed w/ spiced feta and pine nuts and served w/ baba ghannouj- Just nothing special, and the baba was your typical fare. Not much bite
- Chicken Shawarma- this was the most disappointing of the dishes. There was barely any spice and the chicken was really dry. It looked so appetizing…the shawarma was stuffed into mini pita sandwiches. But, it just didn’t deliver. Neyla has a phenomenal shawarma that’s presented the same way, yet very tender and the perfect level of spice.
- Manchego and feta inside phylo- Can’t go wrong with this one. It was good. We should have ordered more.
- Lahem be ajeen (pita topped w/ ground lamb and spices)- Again, no spice and bland!
- Zucchini Fritters- I make a better version at home.

Dessert:

- Molten cake w/ ice cream- this was your typical gooey center. The ice cream was a pomegranate flavor, I believe, and just didn’t work w/ the bittersweet chocolate. The tanginess of the ice cream did not compliment it at all.
- Phylo w/ banana, custard, and honey- I actually liked this one, but the rest the table didn’t care for it.

I guess I’m being too harsh. Everything we ordered wasn’t bad. It was decent, but just lacked the flavor that I’m use to with Lebanese food. I didn’t even need a breath mint!

The restaurant also has a small wine list, but we were able to find a nice Pinot.

Overall, I thought the prices were a little steep for the portions you get. The portions are definitely on the smaller side, even for the mezzes.

So, in short, if you live nearby, I think it would be a nice place to go with a group, take in the pretty ambiance, and share mezzes. But, for real Lebanese food, go to Neyla. Actually, there’s another place that I plan to try soon, called the Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church. From what I hear, it’s better than all of them. They even have their own slaughter house in Warrenton!

Me Jana
2300 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
703.465.4440