Mabat, located just off Kings Highway in…Midwood, I guess…falls into the category of restaurants that are “cheap for their category” or “could be cheap if you order carefully.” That didn’t hinder a friend and I, though, as we shared a table and perused the menu last night, noshing on freshly produced pita and a pickle plate. The assemblage bore eerie similarity to the same pitas and pickle plate at Hummus Place – the difference being the salsa-like concoction that accompanied the olives and pickles, as well as the separate plate of scallions, tomatoes, and radishes. “What the hell are you going to do with a scallion all by itself,” I thought.
In addition to the copious complimentary apps, we ordered small plates of hummus and masbacha ($4.50 or so each), the chunky eggplant/red pepper combination. The former bettered the latter, but the aubergine was no slouch, to be sure.
We opted for the $22 two-skewer-and-two-side combination – it’s only a couple bucks more than two skewers by their lonesome, I was told. Opting for the ground beef kofte was a smart choice, as it is among the most flavorful ground beef products I’ve tasted recently. The grape tomatoes that separated the portions of meat on the skewer were deemed “perfect” by my cohort, too. The lamb was equally satisfying – the tender morsels did not succumb to dryness.
I wouldn’t say the sides were as good – the rice with lentils and onions was fine, if not particularly noteworthy (the onions redeemed it from total mediocrity). The best part of the ostensibly home-cut fries was the crispy bits at the bottom of the bowl – that, and dipping them in the hummus, I guess. Flavor was only so-so.
I should also note that the premises are date-worthy – this is not a pit by any means. We decided that the walls were a deeper shade of green than we had Crayolas, and everything seems quite well-polished. The service was mostly quite nice – our primary waitress (they seem to team a bit) even brought me out a sample of a special fish soup when wasn’t sure whether I wanted to commit to a full bowl, and was quite nice when I decided that I liked it, but had ordered enough food already.
Save room for dessert, if you can – though I didn’t try it, they seem to have some kind of trick for packing sorbet into hollowed out pieces of fruit (for example, a quarter pineapple). The cake in the refridge looked excellent, too, even though I wasn’t quite sure what they were using as a substitute for dairy in the trimming. Mabat, being a kosher steakhouse, has no dairy on the premises.