The first European explorers set sail with hopes of finding new, exotic spices to placate the palates of epicurious monarchs, but all they found were heaps of inedible gold. Pick up where they left off by broadening your mouth's horizons with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a three-course dinner for two at Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine (up to a $58.80 value). The dinner includes the following:
- One shared appetizer (up to an $8.95 value), excluding Walid’s combination plate
- Any two entrees (up to a $21.95 value each)
- One shared dessert (up to a $5.95 value)
Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine regales diners with a menu of authentic Middle Eastern platters. Begin an evening of bubbly chitchat and synchronized belly rubbing by sharing one of a choice of eight appetizers, which includes the baba gannouj, a purée of fire-roasted eggplant imbued with satiny hints of tahini, a splash of pomegranate juice, and a zesty smattering of fresh garlic. For entrees, tablemates can joust with any of Harissa’s nine kebobs; chefs can outfit each lance with aromatic marinated chicken or spear it with valiant salmon, chivalrous prawns, and cowardly scallops before it falls onto a safety pillow of rice pilaf. Elsewhere, hearty helpings of penne pasta tickle nose hairs with aromas of fresh tomato, garlic, and olive oil, and the lebanese vegetable stew swims with stalks of cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and other herbaceous eats in a piquant blend of bold spices. Treat hard-working jaws to a final course of shared cake, or deliver a eulogy written on a napkin before taking the last bite of baklava.
Within Harissa’s pink outdoor façade rests an intimate dining room of ivory drapes and sandstone walls, which surrounds rows of white tablecloths and Mediterannean-themed decorations. Arrange for a Saturday-night dinner date to absorb the rhythmic tones of live music and the consonant gyrations of belly dancers, or request seating at Harissa’s outdoor patio to stare down a coming storm front.
Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine
Harissa Mediterranean Cuisine takes its name from a mountainside village in Lebanon that attracts visitors every year with a 15-ton bronze statue of Our Lady of Lebanon. Chef Walid Alabtan seeks to make his restaurant a destination as well, attracting diners with a hearty spread of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and steadily gaining their loyalty. In her 2010 feature of the restaurant in the Seattle Times, Nancy Leson claimed, "If I lived in Ravenna, I'd add Harissa … to my list of neighborhood go-to joints."
The chefs grill skewers of lamb, chicken, and salmon over open flames, and they ladle helpings of seasonal vegetables and seafood into the kitchen's percolating stew pots. To counteract the menu's overwhelmingly hearty and savory cuisine, they also make baklava by hand and whisk herbs into yogurt and housemade cream cheese to serve them as refreshing appetizers. The dining room creates a slightly refined ambiance with crisp white tablecloths, gentle track lighting, and framed artwork along the soft-yellow and orange walls. Live belly dancing and jazz bands perform on select nights, entertaining diners even more than a jigsaw puzzle that reveals their inheritance.