EPICE Lebanese Bistro Adds Spice to the 12 South Neighborhood Restaurant Row

EPICE Neighborhood Lebanese Restaurant 

2902 12th Avenue South, Nashville TN 37204 | 615.720.6765

Hours: 11AM – 10PM Tuesday – Saturday | 11AM – 9PM Sunday

Epice Lebanese Bistro is conveniently situated in the lively, hip yet sophisticated 12 South neighborhood.

EpiceRestaurantPicMonkey Collage

Ambiance:

The ambiance is just right for a great lunch or dinner experience. Both indoor and outdoor seating are available in the beautiful modern bistro. The servers are courteous and knowledgeable about the menu but the menu doesn’t tell the whole story. EPICE is situated such that sitting outdoors is a pleasure and is conveniently situated in the lively and hip 12 South neighborhood. They really have a great location on 12 South.  On the day that I had lunch and the evenings that I had dinner, the indoor and outdoor experience was near perfect. On every occasion that I have dined, Maher has always been there to greet all of his guests and meanders around the tables speaking to every one he knows, and he knows many! I would guess that Maher has had a culinary foodie following for many years!

Menu:

Maher and Chef Will have created an amazing menu of Lebanese culinary treats which does not hold back on flavor, color and freshness. And, THAT is my style! Vibrant colors, exotic flavors and aromas of freshly prepared bistro-style Lebanese cuisine is on every plate! Maher Fawaz, of the very popular Kalamata’s Restaurants again, has skillfully managed to satisfy our palates for the cuisine that pleases the eye and fills the mouth will a myriad of “secret” blends of Middle Eastern spices and flavors like to other. Together with Chef Will, they have created a varied and satisfying menu for everyone to enjoy. EPICE’S menu is a perfect marriage of complex and bold Arabic spices and cooling yogurt sauces and fresh salads to balance it all.

It’s a “secret!”( a lesson in “demystifying” Lebanese Spices)

Don’t ask your server (like I did) to ask Chef Will about the mysterious combination of seasonings and spices you are eating because they won’t tell you! You be told it’s a “secret!” Therefore, I will help “demystify” the spices and names a bit to empower your foodie spirit for a culinary adventure you will want to revisit many times! Some of Chef Will’s closely guarded “spice secrets” are a blend of  Lebanese Spices, Arabic or Middle Eastern spices include (but not limited to) such warm and aromatic spices such as turmeric, black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, sumac, fennel, ginger, and allspice. Each dish recipes has its own blend or “Baharat” of spices. Baharat means mixed spices in Arabic. Baharat is a combination of several different spices . The blend differs with each dish and each family ( or Chef) makes it their own. And, sweet-tart Pomegranate molasses can be found in several of the menu items too!

Prices: Moderately priced lunch and dinner so you can enjoy both often! Wine: Great wine selection that pairs well with the Lebanese spiced dishes

IMG_5960 For lunch, I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful and tasty entrée Sayadeya, a Lebanese fish dish with spices such as turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, allspice and other “secret” spices served with caramelized onions, roasted vegetables and vermicelli rice.   IMG_7219 I love lamb! Lahmeh one of the most satisfying, flavorful and succulent rack of lamb dishes in town.  On the dinner menu: Lahmeh spices most likely including cumin, coriander, allspice, nutmeg, garlic, onion  and with a pistachio encrusted rack of lamb with lemony (sumac) olive oil, herb roasted potatoes and roasted red pepper puree. It’s $29 but there is enough to share! IMG_5972 I overheard a customer tell Maher that she dreams about this salad! To that customer: I agree! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! The Epice Salad is a harmonious blend of salad greens,creamy and mild goat cheese, house made fig vinaigrette and toasted almonds. It’s just right for a lunch especially if you add meat to it or a great way to begin the dining experience. IMG_5962 At dinner Labneh is served as an appetizer but at lunch you can order a  Labneh Sandwich: Soft Cheese–Labneh is thick greek yogurt when the water has been strained out over several days leaving a thick, tangy and bright soft cheese added flavors of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, spices served with lemony, cilantro and lemony roasted potatoes with a peasant salad with a light pomegranate molasses vinaigrette. IMG_7223 Here are two more of my favorites! This is my comfort food!  Al-Raheb which is roasted and chopped eggplant,  tomatoes, spring onions and finished with crunchy pomegranate seeds and warm pita to scoop it up.  Kibbeh is well seasoned ground sirloin with cinnamon, allspice and perhaps cumin or coriander surrounded by a crunchy bulgur wheat crust drizzled with roasted red pepper puree and a cool yogurt & garlic based dipping sauce. IMG_5945 Za’taar is one of my favorite spice blends to use at home. I made Za’taar bread by grilling pizza dough and adding tomatoes and onions. Here, they serve Crispy Flatbread with Za’taar spice as a starter and it delicious! Za’taar is a blend of dried  thyme, lemony ground sumac, salt, and nutty  toasted sesame seeds. IMG_5946 On the dessert menu, Katayef is a Lebanese dessert where one crepe or stuffed pancakes is filled with walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and the other is filled with slightly sweet, slightly salty soft and creamy feta. Tangy Fresh fruit sauce perfectly complemented. Yum! I would get that again! IMG_7230

Stay hungry and thirsty for more!  Cheers!

 

About The Author

Lisa Mays

Lisa is passionate about wine and holds the WSET Advanced Certificate (Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London). She will be pursuing her Diploma Certificate through rigorous on-going studies and plans to attain the prestigious Master of Wine designation.

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Author of this web sitehttp://www.winewithlisa.com

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07 2014

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