I visited my friend in Long Beach and we decided to eat locally. We parked near 2nd street, which was filled with different restaurants. Since I wanted to try something not so common and my friend had not been to this place since high school, we decided on Open Sesame, labeled as ‘Authentic Lebanese Cuisine’ by the restaurant.
Even from the street, we noticed that it was one of the most packed restaurants, despite being almost 2 in the afternoon. We initially passed it by, thinking that there would be a long wait, but last minute, decided to first check the wait time before trying elsewhere. Luckily there was no wait so we went to an inside table.
The appetizer was a lebanese style pizza called the Zaatar (4.25), which was topped with thyme, sesame seeds, sourberry, fresh mint, olives and tomato, and sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil. I really liked this non-greasy vegetarian pizza, plus fresh tomatoes are one of my favorite toppings.
The meat dish was the Open Sesame Combo Plate (12.99), which had charbroiled skewers of kafta, chicken tawook and beef kabob served on a bed of basmati rice with hummus and salad. I thought the beef was a little dry and the kafta was slightly better in taste. I did like the chicken combined with the basmati rice. I’ve found that I really like the variety of flavors that is accompanied by Mediterranean rice, especially since I tend to eat plain jasmine rice with most of my meals, and this one was as tasty as some of the others I’ve had.
The other combo dish was the Vegetarian Plate (9.99), which had hummus, baba ganoug, tabouleh, grape leaves and two falafel patties. Hummus has never interested me much, but the baba ganoug was very good. I don’t even know what it is made of but I liked it. The falafel patties tasted strange at first, probably because I’m not accustomed to them, but I grew to like them the more I ate. Most of the vegetables on the plate were untouched, as were the vegetables on the meat combo dish. I’m not much of a salad eater, and I figure Guyton and I were trying to eat the more filling foods. =)
The food wait was probably about 25-30 minutes and we got our appetizer a few minutes after the main dishes arrived. The flat bread for dipping in the hummus and baba ganoug was a bit hard as well. I don’t remember any waiters coming by to ask about water or anything so I’m not sure if there was even service, other than the person who took our order. Overall, I think it was a good place to try out something different, but I won’t be back unless there’s a special on that yummy baba ganoug!
5215 E. 2nd St
Long Beach CA 90803