I am constantly amazed by the wide variety of restaurants that exist within Athens.
Since I heard about The Sultan last semester, I have been dying to try it. The Sultan is a local Lebanese restaurant that is located out on Atlanta Highway, right beside Best Buy. It’s almost to Bogart on your right.
My first experience with Lebanese/Middle Eastern food was when I studied abroad in Paris two summers ago. If these next few sentences come off seeming stupid, please forgive me.
In case you didn’t know, Lebanon is located on basically the other side of the world in a climate that is extremely different than ours. In fact, most of the crops they grow in the Middle East cannot be grown in America and vice-versa. What I found most fascinating about the Lebanese restaurant was what their food was made of- the crops in their backyard.
Does this make sense to you? It was sooo different than anything I had ever had, but, when you think about it, the eggplant, lamb, beef, chickpeas, nuts, rice, and vegetables are just what grow. It’s a simple concept, but it made me so excited to try everything.
I hadn’t had Lebanese food since Paris, and last Tuesday I got to have it again. Fist pump!!
I went to The Sultan on a whim, and decided I’d go in for a to-go plate. I was by myself, so I was a little apprehensive about going into a new restaurant alone. However, I walked in the door, and I was greeted by the owner and a nice family who looked like regulars. They were just hanging out and cutting up. I knew right then it was going to be a good experience.
After looking at the menu, I decided to go with the ground beef skewers with a side of hummus. The ground beef was mixed with onions and spices, and they came with a vegetable skewer. They were on top of some yummy basmati rice and came with a side salad.
I paid my $12 and went to the car. Oh my gosh…my car smelled so good. I was so excited about my Lebanese meal that I seriously had to stop myself from running in my house.
Once I got settled and ready, I decided the plate was too big to eat in one sitting. So, I took one beef skewer, the vegetable skewer, half the rice, the salad, and the hummus on a plate. The inaguration balls were on, so I plopped in front of the TV to watch all the festivities.
The ground beef skewer was fabulous. It wasn’t tough, but you could definitely taste the Middle Eastern spices and onions mixed in. It wasn’t a super strong flavor, and it was very tasty. The vegetables tasted grilled, and they definitely were a nice complement to the beef.
I loved the rice. I don’t know what they boil it in, but it tasted like there was a little chicken broth or something. I could be totally wrong, but I’m just trying to describe it to you.
The hummus was AMAZING. There’s nothing like good, authentic hummus, and it was so beautifully displayed even if it was in a styrofoam dessert tray. He topped it with paprika and olive oil. I made that stuff last for three more days. The pita he sent with it was awesome, too. It had been toasted a little and was hot.
All I have to say is TRY IT. If you’ve never had the traditional dishes like falafel, tabouli, or baba ghanoush, that’s where you need to start. I’m sure the people at The Sultan will explain everything to you. For all you picky eaters, it’s not WEIRD. It’s just different. Step out of the box, and go to The Sultan!