With one location in Los Angeles, and the other in Long Beach, Open Sesame serves up authentic and tantalizing Lebanese cuisine.
The owner, Ali Kobeissi’s love affair with herbs and spices began at the young age of 15 years old when he worked at a neighborhood factory in Beirut, Lebanon during his summer vacation.
The ingredients used at Open Sesame are fresh, and the food here is exotic and aromatic. I can’t help but tell you how insanely delectable their Baba Ghannouj is, one of the best I’ve ever had. The next time I’m in town, I look forward to visiting their LA location.
Jalab: Rose water and grape syrup infused with incense, in addition to pine nuts and slivered almonds in the mix. Absolutely delicious, sweet and light drink, the rose water flavor is prominent. A favorite!
Laban: Chilled yogurt blended with mint, salt and black pepper, similar to the Indian Lassi. Smooth and tasty.
Tamarind: Light, sweet with a subtle tamarind flavor.
Fried potatoes: Famous fried potatoes sautéed with garlic, cilantro, chili and lots of lemon. Insanely delicious potatoes that melt in your mouth. The garlic sauce on the side was heavenly. A favorite!
Fried Cauliflower: Fried cauliflower served with onion, tomato and a side of delicious tahini sauce topped with pine nuts and almonds. This appetizing dish comes with a side of pita. Also a favorite.
Pita: So soft, warm, and delicious. A favorite!
Open Sesame Combo: Consisted of charbroiled skewers of kafta (ground beef & lamb), chicken tawook, and beef kabob. This dish was served with a side salad and delicious basmati rice. Additionally, you can choose 2 sides and I opted for Baba Ghannouj and Spicy Hummus.
Here is the breakdown:
Kafta: Tender with a smoky cumin flavor, I enjoyed it, but not a fan of beef or lamb.
Beef Kebob: The kebab was okay and quite chewy.
Chicken Tawook: The grilled chicken was tender, soft, juicy with a bold lemon flavor. Amazing and a favorite!
Spicy Hummus: Had a slight kick, was smooth and tasty.
Baba Ghannouj: Outstanding with a delicious roasted eggplant flavor. A must-do at Open Sesame! A favorite!
Loukoz / Mediterranean Sea Bass: I requested to have the sea bass filet. Prepared with lemon, thyme and served with a fresh cherry tomato arugula salad. The basmati rice was topped with a roasted pepper sauce which was incredible. The mildly flavored fish was delicate, and tender. The highlights here were the arugula salad which was flavored with lots of olive oil and the basmati rice.
A La Carte
Grilled Tiger Shrimp: Perfectly charred shrimp, flavorful and tasty. As mentioned above, that same roasted pepper sauce was used in this dish. Delicious.
Coffee & Desserts
Baklava: Flaky phyllo pastry filled with pistachios or walnuts, I opted for pistachios. The baklava was buttery, flaky and not too sweet. A favorite!
Turkish Coffee: Delicious coffee infused with cardamom. The earthy aroma of this coffee reminded me of what the smell in Turkey would be like. It was heavenly. A favorite!
Ashta Lebanese Ice-Cream: I opted for the Ashta ice-cream which had a light and flavorful rose flavor. Ambrosial and a favorite!
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Open Sesame
FAVORITES: Jalab | Fried Potatoes | Fried Cauliflower | Pita | Baba Ghanouj | Chicken Tawook | Basmati Rice | Turkish Coffee | Baklava | Ashta Ice-Cream
VERDICT: 4.5 / 5
Open Sesame is easily one of the best Lebanese restaurants I have been to. The flavors here are authentic and the prices are very reasonable. The portions are quite large so you’ll definitely leave happy, and most likely with some leftovers. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a few new beverages along with some beef and lamb, and I’m so glad I did. In terms of beverages, I highly recommend the Jalab and Turkish Coffee which were both highly aromatic. Furthermore, you can’t leave here without trying the Baba Ghannouj, Fried Cauliflower and Chicken Tawook. Very Highly recommended!
Food: Outstanding | Drinks: Excellent | Décor: Casual/Intimate | Service: Friendly | Value: Reasonable
What’s your favorite Lebanese dish? Do you enjoy ethnic food?