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Since opening five years ago now, Mazza restaurant at 15th South and 15th East has been one of my favorites, serving the best Middle Eastern cuisine in the state – and probably in quite a few states.

Well if you’ve never been to Mazza or haven’t visited lately, you should stop by and check it out. Chef and Owner Ali Sabbah has improved everything about Mazza over the years. Gone for instance are the Styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery. There are now tablecloths and candles on each table, a new expanded dinner menu, and even a wine list. Mazza always served up the best falafel, hummus, and tabouleh in town. But now you can indulge in more complex Middle Eastern dishes at Mazza like my favorite entree: It’s called lamb and rice dolaas. For this dish Ali Sabbah braises chunks of lamb shoulder until they’re melt-in-you-mouth tender, serves it with basmati rice and fragrant spices like cinnamon and allspice, and then tops the dish with roasted almonds and pine nuts. Boy, it’s a taste treat.

And of course there are also more recognizable dishes at Mazza. Like the chicken, lamb, and beef kababs, as well as a terrific selection of dishes for vegetarians.

Well, Mazza hasn’t gotten any bigger. It’s still a small place. But it sure has gotten better. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than discovering that a restaurant I like has turned into a restaurant I love. That’s Mazza, serving up Middle Eastern cuisine at 15th and 15th.

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