Al Pacino Café worth visiting

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I’ll admit it: I am not familiar with Egyptian or Mediterranean food, so when I walked into Al Pacino Café and was handed the menu, I was a bit confused.

Thankfully, Brian was there to assist me.  He talked me through the various choices all the while asking what I liked.  Up to that point in my life I thought I knew.  But this was new cuisine for me.  I know, you’re asking: “where have you been child?”

I’ll tell you: in the world of salmon, pasta, Chinese and seafood.  Certainly nothing wrong with any of those – they just left my food knowledge a little limited.  So it was with Brian’s help that I ordered the pearl couscous topped with chicken shawarma (I could have selected lamb).

I kept asking him “will I like it, will I like it?”

He said not to worry. Perhaps, he was thinking I should shut up already.

The drama ends when the dish arrived along with a big smile on Brian’s face.  Up went the fork, into the entrée and into my mouth.

Oh boy, did I make a good choice.

Thank you Brian and thank you Al Pacino Café for opening my eyes to a new (for me) food adventure.  I promised next time I will try the Jerusalem salad.  And I can assure you, there will be a next time.

Al Pacino Café is open seven days for lunch and dinner, with plenty of close by parking.  They are prepared for takeout and delivery and there is a small area in the front for an intimate gathering, perhaps up to 10 to 12 people.  Reservations might be a good idea on weekends, as is the case with most restaurants.

This is locally owned and operated by Kareem, Ashraf and Kathy.  Chances are at any time one of them is there overlooking the daily operation at this BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) restaurant. However, there is a liquor store less than a minute’s walk away.

There are lunch specials that change about every two weeks, and the menu offers plenty of pizzas covered with cheese, vegetables, meat and seafood.

As for the pastas, let me note my favorite the broccoli with sun dried tomatoes.  Other choices include the portabello mushroom, curry chicken, seafood, pasta parmesan or the penne four cheese.  I counted eight choices for sauces.

One popular Middle Eastern specialty is the Tagine.  This is Egyptian chicken or lamb stew made with potatoes, zucchini, onions and fresh tomatoes served with pearl couscous.  Perhaps I should add this to my list.  Just about all the dishes are made from scratch, with the exception being the pasta.

For appetizers you can’t go wrong with the eggplant with green peppers, or the grape leaves or the Middle Eastern combo or the falafel.

You’ll find this popular restaurant at 1330 Reisterstown Road in the heart of Pikesville, with Beltway Exit 20 and then south the best way to go.  But before I go, I’m not leaving so fast, I will mention the wide variety of sandwiches –  chicken teriyaki, natural pita, kofta, curry chicken and the portabella mushroom, just to name a few.

Top the meal off with dessert.  I’ll guide you to the baklava, rice pudding or chocolate pyramid cake.  That last item, forget about it!

Reach them at 410-653-6868 or alpacinopikesville.com.

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