Finally!! Real ME food (Lebanese) in SF @ Beit Rima!

I was planning to take Bart over to Fruitvale tonight for the Palestinian Youth Movement’s Ghassan Kanafani anthology launch at Reem’s in Oakland, but I didn’t get much sleep last night and the trip across the bay was too much. I was really craving ME food though, so I started digging around online and discovered Beit Rima. Alhamdulillah! This place is my new fave rave in SF. Everything we tried was dyn-o-mite! I haven’t posted on this site in forever but Beit Rima brought me back (just for this post). Go try it!

I ordered enough to have lunch leftovers tomorrow - all recommended x10:
Ful w/ soft egg
Hummus ma’ Lehma
Baked Halloumi
Hand Kneaded Pita Bread w/ zaa’tar
Chicken Shish Tawook Plate

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Thanks for the report! I liked Beit Rima too. It’s on Church St. in the location of a former Burgermeister across from the Duboce Triangle Safeway (very convenient to Muni Metro), and was actually opened by a member of the family that runs the local Burgermeister chain, chef Samir Mogannam, who had also worked as a chef at Aziza and Dyafa.

You order and pay at the counter and get a number. They seem to be quite busy. Much busier than the Burgermeister was. Recently they’ve added a Yelp check-in tablet to handle the wait list.

I had the chicken shish tawook plate ($16), described on the menu as “yogurt marinated chicken, charred onion/red pepper, toum, mom’s rice, half pita”. It was really good. Very tender juicy chicken that was drizzed with a garlicky toum sauce. I’m not a hummus connoisseur but I liked the hummus too. Slightly warm and creamy. Medium density. Not as dense as say, Oren’s. The rice was kind of sticky. Pita was good too. It also came with a couple pieces of pickled turnip.

I also had a single falafel, which you can get for 79 cents a piece. A good medium sized freshly fried falafel that had a crunchy crust.

Went back another time and had the mezze sampler ($16), which has four of the spreads - hummus, muhammara, baba ghanoush, and lebna. It also comes with three half pitas, a couple of falafels, some olives, and some pickles.

Good spreads. The hummus was as good as before. Muhammara was well spiced with paprika (edit: after googling muhammara the spice is actually Aleppo pepper), kind of sweet. Baba ghanoush was fine. The lebna, a strained yogurt, was very nice - like a concentrated yogurt with the texture of cream cheese. I don’t think I’ve had this before.

Also had a dessert on another visit - the muhalabia ($6). This was ok, kind of like a milk jelly with a lot of crushed pistachios on top. It’s flavored with orange blossom water. Probably wouldn’t get again.

Will be back to try the ful, and the lamb shank.

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The Hummus ma’ Lehma with spiced beef is even better than their standard offering. I haven’t had really good hummus like it since traveling in Jordan a few years ago. Get their hand kneaded pita with it next time. I doubt if the pita they give you with standard mezze is made in house, but this one’s really good and it’s garnished with zaa’tar. It’s worth the extra $5 with any of their dips.

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Damn are you guys feeding restaurant tips to Soleil Ho?

Food sounds great and can’t wait to try it. I thought Ho’s review was a bit odd, though. “Was the neighborhood ready for an Arab restaurant?” And her comments suggesting you can’t mention Palestine in mainstream media (?) and about supposed widespread use of canned meze (what could she mean?) were plain weird.

Not sure if this was Ho’s exact meaning, but IME the Castro is notoriously fickle when it comes to keeping new restaurants in business, and it’s long seemed to me that less-often-seen, strongly flavored ethnic cuisines tend to be at a competitive disadvantage there. (Thai food is old hat at this point and doesn’t count.) If I were a banker faced with a choice between financing a project to open a really good, authentic Burmese/Yemeni/West African restaurant in the Castro or financing yet another mediocre burger/sandwich/salad/brunch place in the Castro, it would not be an easy choice. (True, the Castro has supported La Mediterranee for a long time, but drawing perennial crowds at a bland, unchallenging “Middle Eastern” restaurant is more the exception that proves the rule. The Castro tends to punish the bold.)

I would be far from surprised to learn that a lot of the places serving more mediocre renditions of Levantine food use canned dolmas in particular.

Soleil Ho’s (too long as usual, IMO), review in today’s Chronicle:

:wave::wave::wave: Soleil, if you see this, do you want to join us here? :yum::yum::yum:

Good stuff. The hummus ma’lehma with spiced beef and hand kneaded brad were great. The falafel were a little dense but otherwise nice fresh taste. I thought the chicken kebabs a tad bland but I asked for some chili sauce which helped. They had a whole fried branzino special that a lot of tables were getting that looked good too. Everything comes out pretty fast and they’re really efficient so even if it is full things move quickly. I was waiting in line to order and someone just came up and took my order and payment on a mobile device.

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Great rec.

Mezze sampler. Came with lebna, muhammara, baba ganoush, hummus, pickles, falafel. Solid all around.

Baked halloumi cheese. Pretty nice. Pretty substantial chunks of cheese so it should be shared.

Chicken kabob (the person at the counter said chicken kabob, but i think its the same chicken shish tawook plate that everyone mentioned earlier) - this chicken was succulent, well marinated, and really delicious. It was substantially better than any other chicken kabob in the last few years. I’d come back just for that.

The menu here may look similar to many other kabob/ hummus place, but the quality sets Beit Rima apart. Comfortable space. Order at the counter.

First reported by @ekadvany, Beit Rima is opening a third branch in Daly City, closer to their home. Also a second branch is opening in Cole Valley this month.

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We went the other night and loved it too. Only tried the mezze sampler and the Chicken Shish Tawook, as well as an order of the hand-kneaded bread. Loved everything on the sampler, and the chicken, but especially the plain rice! a great texture and flavor. maybe they’re cooking it in chicken broth… The hand-kneaded bread was good but a bit hard to chew, I thought. All very tasty and super fresh, though, and I’d definitely go back if in the area.

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