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Hassouni

Basma

[font=arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=2][font="arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif"][size="2"][size=2][font="arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif"][size="2"][size=2][font="Tahoma"][size="2"][size=2]In Ashrafiye, on the main road leading to ABC (Charles Malek? I'm not sure the name of a lot of Beirut streets). Often directions are given by saying it's across the street from Schtroumpf (the French word for Smurf, really), which is, I take it, a famous restaurant. Basma is a Lebanese restaurant, again, another restaurant with argileh.
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[font="Tahoma"][size="2"][size=2]Atmosphere: 5/5. Very nice. It has a huge outdoor terrace with really pretty decor. [/size][/size][/font][/size][/size][/font]
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Argileh: 5/5. OH MY GOD. Get their special blend and don't look back. So they have the usual apple, grape, lemon, etc suspects, but they also have what they call a special fruit blend with musk (miskeh in arabic...it's not actually musk, it's mastic in english, but whatever). This is a house-blended mix of mu'assal, combined with crushed mastic resin, which is an ingredient added to a lot of Arabic desserts. You get it, and at first thing, well, it's nice I guess, but the flavor is just very weak. Then you pause to eat your dinner. Then dessert comes and you pick up your hose again and it hits you - THE MIX IN THE BOWL TASTES JUST LIKE DESSERT!!! It is the PERFECT after-dinner smoke. It really blew my mind. I asked the guy if I could buy it in a store, and he said no, they mix it all in the kitchen, but he gave me a little sample of the tobacco, and said i needed to buy the "miskeh" or mastic, and crush it and mix it with the tobacco and then put it in the bowl. I didn't actually smoke the tobacco, but it smelled like a dark/red fruit mix - berries, maybe grape, some other stuff like that. I got some mastic and I'm gonna try this at home. Awesome[/size][/size][/font][/color][/color]
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[color="#5D5D5D"][color="#1C2837"][font="Tahoma"][size="2"][size=2]Service: 5/5. Excellent, the waiters were fine, but the argileh attendant was really great, it's he who gave me all the tips about the mix and the tiny sample to take home.
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[/size][/size][/font][color="#1C2837"][font="Tahoma"][size="2"][size=2]Food: 5/5. Again, a proper restaurant. Very unusual menu, very well executed. It's rare to find dishes on a Lebanese menu that you don't see anywhere else, but they have a lot....including a dish called 'Aj'ouj, which, no joke, is kids' slang for certain female lower anatomy. It was delicious, by the way!

Price: 5/5. Don't remember exactly how much it was, other than that it was a bit more than the usual places. At the same time, the food and everything else provided were superb, so I feel it's fair.

Overall recommendation: Go!! Amazing food, and the special mix mu'assal was astonishing.[/size][/size][/font][/color][/color][/size][/font]

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