The Seven Seas Platter at Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine

I don't usually think of ordering seafood at Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurants. Lamb and chicken are usually the house specialties, maybe chickpeas in the form of falafel. After eating red meat seven days in a row, however, I was in the mood for something whiter, lighter, and, well, fishier.

The "Seven Seas" platter ($11) at Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine featuring a marinated red snapper filet and a choice of three sides was a perfect balance of satisfying omega-three packed protein, simple carbohydrates, and dressed-up vegetables.

Aladdin offers a bevy of hot and cold salads, but I find it hard not to order the roasted eggplant with pesto and feta. These large, fibrous discs are so tender, they fall apart upon the slightest nudge from your fork and dissolve in your mouth like vegetable butter.

On this visit I skipped my other preferred accompaniment, the fried potato and cheese croquette in favor some hummus and tabbouleh. I should mention that in honor of International Hot & Spicy Food Day, I ordered the "spicy" hummus instead of the plain version. Oh yeah, I live dangerously.

Resting in a mild tomato and parsley broth (which strangely seemed to have hints of chicken stock), the delicate snapper was infused with a lovely earthy flavor. The filet was modest in size but the more than ample scoops of hummus and tabbouleh as well as the three pieces of warm, pillowy Syrian bread (complimentary with the order of any platter) ensured my stomach was at full capacity by the end of the meal.

Although I enjoyed the snapper, I'm sure habit will compel me to order the lamb shank next time I'm at Aladdin, as my red meat fatigue never lasts that long.

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Joanna O'Leary