The canvas ceiling ruffles slightly as a belly dancer twirls, creating a slight breeze with her upraised shawl. Lantern sconces cast shadows over the band while their hands pluck strings, pound drums, and blow raspberries. On the walls, ornate Middle Eastern patterns and silhouettes of onion domes surround the audience—their eyes flit to another dancer's fingers, now walking the edge of a golden sword. The spectacle has distracted them from the aromas at their table: scents of Syrian spices, housemade tahini sauce, and pomegranate molasses mingle in the air and only draw the diners back to their meals once the dancers have taken a bow.
These performances typify Friday and Saturday nights at Jerusalem Garden Cafe, a venue that strives for immersive authenticity. Incorporating cuisine from Istanbul, Lebanon, Cairo, and other locales, the menu whisks patrons away to the Mediterranean. Skewers of beef fillet and chicken breast depart the kitchen alongside lamb, salmon, and shrimp, whose seasonings build on the flavors of housemade hummus and baba ghanouj. Vegan and vegetarian options are also on hand to sate herbivorous appetites.