Me Jana, Courthouse

“Something European; not Italian. Maybe something healthy – I’d love to have some good food tonight.” That was my young dining companion’s response when I asked him for his hunger level (“6”), and a rough sketch of the evening’s meal.

I’ve been to Me Jana somewhere between three and five times, and it has been remarkably consistent – never outstanding, but always very good – and last night it was exactly as I expected, with the weather providing a patio bonus.

A basket of warm housemade pita is served with a small trio of olives, herbed oil, and a very refrigerated, sour cream-like rendition of labneh. I washed it down with an Efes Pilsner ($5.99) – I only took a cursory glance at the beer list, but (assuming it was on there) I remember wishing I’d ordered the double-roasted dark lager.

Hommus with Meat ($9.50) started disappearing before I could get much of it. I’ve had better hommus here in the past – this one was quickly congealing, the sauteed beef was cooked to death, and the pine nuts were large and aggressive. 

This was served alongside an excellent but ice-box cold Fassolia ($7.50), large lima beans stewed with tomato, garlic, and cilantro. I’m not certain this was house made, but if it was, it was impressive because it was extremely balanced (which is hard to do well in small quantities). 

The dish of the evening, at least to me, was the Kibbeh Nayeh ($12.99) which was just perfect with its shaved radishes. In theory, the version at Lebanese Butcher is better, but Me Jana’s has more flavor and a more integrated burghul texture.

An appetizer of Beef Shawarma ($10.50) was also extremely overcooked (though not as thoroughly leather-like as the beef with the hummos); yet, it was seasoned well, and came in enough of its juices that it was very pleasant – also very useful as the coup de grâce for a hungry sixteen-year-old. If you order this, ask for a little extra tahini which, when mixed with the juices and chased by a pickled radish, makes this dish complete.

Its foil was the Spinach Pie ($7.50), or as Matt called them, Spinach Hamantaschen (well, why not – it was Rosh Hashanah) – four fateyers of good, acidic spinach served slightly warm, and just the right amount of green to call this a healthy dinner.

A solid showing for Me Jana which is maintained in Italic.

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