Captain Cook Restaurant in Downtown Beirut: I Just Can't Get Enough
Captain Cook in downtown Beirut is a restaurant I just can’t emphasize enough. I first discovered this veritable hole-in-the-wall nearly ten months ago descending along the steep slope adjacent to the Serail. Outside, a collapsible chalkboard scrawled a cute food-related quip, and peeking in I was drawn to the red-seated metal barstools lining the joint along three walls.
I picked up a menu and rushed back to the office, eager to explore the restaurant’s website. It was chockfull of details about the benefits of “superfoods” like quinoa, flaxseeds, pomegranate and blueberries. I was immediately sold on the concept. But would the food hold up? Would it be as fresh, tasty and wholesome as purported? I had to try it.
And I did. And it was. Unmistakably fresh. Phenomenally tasty. Exceptionally wholesome. The added bonus was the pocket-pleasing prices. A filling sandwich, burger, or salad could be had for an average of 10,000LL. Breakfast items range from 2,500LL for a labneh sandwich with all the trimmings to 5,250LL for a Captain Omelet crafted from beaten eggs, spinach, two cheeses, tomatoes, spinach and cumin.
On separate visits, I tried the stackhouse Captain Burger (8,000LL), layered with a moist beef patty, avocado, grilled onions and tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, cheddar cheese and a fried egg. That burger is so finger-licking delicious, a Japanese man working at the nearby UN building comes in expressly for it every day of the week. The Steak Holder (10,750LL) features a soft bun cradling tender beef brochettes, oozing cheese and sautéed onions slathered in a chipotle steak sauce. It’s another of my favorites.
I passed by Captain Cook last week to try out the new Chia Salad (13,500LL), perhaps Lebanon’s first foray into the world of chia seeds. These superfoods are a great source of omega-3 fats and fiber and are alleged to boost energy, stabilize blood sugar, aid digestion and lower cholesterol. Captain Cook’s Chia Salad is irresistible, a bouquet of colors, tastes, and textures. Lettuce and rocket leaves are mixed with finely diced green peppers and halved cherry tomatoes. Atop are cubes of grilled halloumi; melt-in-your-mouth tortilla strips; slices of avocado; and a handful of chia seeds. I drizzled lemon-mustard dressing to add the desired tartness, and thus began my enviable lunch.
|Chia Salad at Captain Cook Restaurant|