Steve Dolinsky is on vacation this week. We are re-publishing some of his past posts to keep you company! Steve will return on August 24th.
I've seen it spelled a number of different ways: baba gannoush/ganoush/ganouj, etc., but no matter how you spell it, the dish is pretty much always the same - roasted, chopped eggplant, combined with garlic, tahini and spices, whipped or finely-chopped into a spread that is ripe for wedges of warm pita bread. ‚ The reason we're homing in on Taboun today, is because, quite simply, they make the best baba-g in town. I know those are fightin' words for fans of Semiramis and Al-Khaymeih, but once you try it, you'll be a convert as well. ‚ There's a secret ingredient involved (mayo, I believe) that gives it a smooth, creamy flavor, but it also has a nice smokiness and a perfect, slighty chunky consistency that goes so well with the warm pita from North Shore Bakery. ‚ Dressed with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with a jolt of paprika, I can make a meal of it solo.
The bonus: Taboun is a kosher meat restaurant, so you can munch on their excellent kebabs and shawarma while you nibble on the baba gannoush, but be warned - the restaurant closes during the Sabbath (sundown Friday until sundown Saturday) so you'll have to plan accordingly. ‚ There are two locations, one in West Rogers Park, the other in Skokie.
The baba-g with warm pita at the ready... (photo by Steve Dolinsky)