Menu Overhaul at Casper & Gambini's

New year, new menu! So it goes at one of my favorite modern bistros in Lebanon, Casper & Gambini’s, whose slogan “all in good taste” expertly captures its latest slate of dishes.

Now I’m not talking a couple additions, or a flavor tweak here and there. This is a total overhaul of their preceding menu, and that's gutsy. The folks at C&G are mavericks, indeed, but as Steve Jobs once said, “here’s to the crazy ones…the ones who see things differently…because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Now Jobs may not have had gastronomists in mind when he uttered that self-truth, but food is life, and the rebels at C&G have put out 30 new items to tantalize our taste buds. Told you it was huge. 

But fret not, your favorites are still there – I know, I nearly panicked as I tore through the menu to the salad section. The Spinach Chicken lives on. RELIEF!

Here’s a roundup of some of the newbies, which you’re going to L.O.V.E.

I admit, I’ve never brunched at Casper’s, but I have two incentives to change that immediately. Exhibit one: avocado on pumpernickel (16,750 LL), featuring the creamy green fruit hand-crushed and spread on textured, grainy toast bread and crowned with a free-range poached egg. Two of those and tossed lettuce, and you’ve got yourself a divine breakfast.


Avocado on pumpernickel


Exhibit two: Goat cheese lovers will love the namesake tartlet (17,750 LL), slathered with tapenade and pepper marmalade and garnished with French thyme, baby spinach, caramelized onion and cherry tomato. It sounds like a mouthful, but it comes together in one cohesive cup of goodness, and please let it runneth over!


Goat cheese tartlet


In Starters & Sharing, burrata makes its debut flanked by marinated heirloom tomatoes and a tangy raspberry vinaigrette that beautifully cuts through the alkalinity of the cheese (32,750 LL).


Palermo burrata


If you’re feeling more indulgent, the truffle sliders (19,750 LL) fit the bill, presented inside Casper’s signature airy buns alongside a metal cage of fries. The truffle is far from overwhelming; there’s just a hint of it to jog your senses.


Truffle slider


Now here’s something superbly delectable: fresh crab and shrimp stuffed in miniature French rolls sliced down the middle and kicked with homemade pepper marmalade (21,750 LL). Such a beautiful mess.


Fresh crab & shrimp soft buns


Kale was bound to make an appearance, and it does in the form of a raw salad tossed with dried apricots, cranberries, feta cubes, pomegranate seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, and chilled chicken breast (24,750 LL). This is definitely a nutrient-rich salad that sits light on the stomach.


Casper's raw kale salad


The Asian sesame chicken salad (24,750 LL) was revisited and now boasts a fresher, lighter composition, tossed in a sesame Japanese dressing. The string beans and peanuts are a pleasant touch.


Asian sesame chicken salad


Here’s something novel: yellow beetroot! The heritage goat cheese salad (24,750 LL) showcases three rounds of molten chèvre on toast atop a bed of endives and lettuce sprinkled with hazelnut and pumpkin seeds. The duo-tinted beetroot wedges are sweet and robust but would probably fare better warmed.


Heritage goat cheese salad


I’m a huge fan of teriyaki-glazed salmon, and paired with black-inked pasta, it’s got all the makings of a winning combination (33,250 LL). But the dish is drenched in sweet teriyaki, impeding its ability to take off. Dial it down, and it's redeemed.


Fresh salmon black-inked pasta


Casper goes gourmet with its raspberry twist dessert (14,750 LL), which looks like a page out of a Michelin-star diary. Granola crunch, white chocolate hemisphere cupping raspberry coulis, whipped cream, and fresh raspberries – absolutely ethereal. 


Raspberry Twist


It was enough to woo me away from the toasted dessert ravioli (13,750 LL), which held others captive with its chocolate dipping sauce. Given its beignet resemblance, aka battered and fried, I happily passed it along.


Toasted dessert ravioli with chocolate dipping sauce



Casper’s menu has grown incredibly long, which is a boon as it caters to all palates but a bane for those indecisive among us. My advice? Sample something different each time. It’s hard work, I know, but tough luck. You’ll live.


Casper & Gambini's
Beirut Souks, ABC Achrafieh, Verdun, AUBMC, ABC Dbayeh
01-252627

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