Monday, October 31, 2011

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Casablanca

Happy Halloween! Expect several Halloween food-related posts in the coming days, but on the last day of Vegan Mofo, I've got a review for my Bluff City Vegan Eats Series.

For the most part, all Middle Eastern joints in Memphis seem about the same to me. Casablanca, a casual sit-down style Middle Eastern restaurant in East Memphis, is pretty stand-out though. Not my fave, but certainly up there. Maybe my second fave.

The food is amazing, especially their Baba Ganoush. In fact, Casablanca may serve the best creamy, roasted eggplant dip in town:

Their Hummus is good too. Creamy, tahini-y, chickpea-ish. The olive oil drizzled on top actually comes from the owner's dad's olive oil business in Jerusalem. It's also sold at Casablanca by the bottle:

There's really only one vegan entree, but you could certainly make a meal out of the vegan appetizers too (the aforementioned spreads, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, tabouli, the usual stuff). I usually stick with the Big Mac of the Middle East:

That's what they call this monster falafel-filled pita (and no, I couldn't wait to take a bite before I snapped this picture). Their falafel is warm, with a crispy exterior and a soft, savory interior, and it's stuffed into a pita with lettuce, carrots, and onions. Unfortunately, Casblanca's signature tahini sauce isn't vegan. It contains yogurt. And for some crazy reason, the Big Mac doesn't come with hummus spread inside. So I always order a side of hummus for spreadin'.

Other "vegetarian" entrees at Casablanca contain eggs or cheese. Ugh. Thank god falafel is vegan. The most charming thing about this place isn't really the tasty food though. The owner, Aimer, is usually at the restaurant visiting tables, and he's always so chipper and grateful for his customers' business. He'll stop by a table and ask everyone how their food is, crack jokes, and make people laugh. A visit to Casablanca is 50 percent food and 50 percent experience.

Casablanca is located at 5030 Poplar, Suite 7. Call 901-725-8557 or go to the website here.


JohnP said...

Yes, thank god falafel is vegan!

Jenna said...

There's a middle eastern place here that my omni husband and I both love. They have a limited menu but I can get babaganoush, falafel, etc. We go there a lot!!

Anonymous said...

I have never had falafel outside of my house. I really need to change that, stat; because I don't turn on the deep fryer at my house like, ever. It just costs so much to fill up and it makes the house smell greasy.
That baba ganoush looks amazingly fresh.

Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan said...

Oh I love mediterranean food! You got all my favorites: falafels, baba ganouch and hummus. Yum yum!

Erin said...

Falafel sandwiches should always come with falafel, at least you can add it!

morganbb said...

I love when you post places I didn't know about that's near me! It's like all of Memphis opens up to me thanks to you. I have passed this place many times but had no idea what it held inside. Can't wait to try it!

Tender B. said...

I want me a monster falafel. That looks awesome.