Bits and pieces of food scattered across the floor. Two hookah pipes of purple and gold and red and silver sitting above the pans of food. Bags of raisins, whole lentils, lady fingers and orange blossom water sitting upon almost empty shelves for sale.
Why is this place so dirty? Is it 100 degrees in here? And most importantly, why did my mom and brother talk so highly of this restaurant? These were just a few of the various questions racing through my mind at that moment.
Every since I was 11 years old, my mom would ask me to tag along and go to her and my brother’s favorite restaurant, but my answer would always be no. Now four years later I get to go to this restaurant that has persuaded me to only think positive things about this cafe, from two fanatics of Mediterranean food.
Jerusalem Cafe and Bakery located in Westport serves Mediterranean food for an all-you-can-eat buffet for around $12.
Following the directions of the Please Use Fresh Clean Plate Always sign, I grabbed the next plate on the stack while swapping it with the plate that had a brown spot on it.
I then uneasily followed my mom’s footsteps as I would when I was five and cautiously spooned various dishes onto my plate.
As a fan of hummus, the first thing I tried was the hummus and pita bread. With three different colors to choose from, I went with the safest route and left a hefty scoop of what seemed to be original hummus on my plate. The thick, darkened triangles drenched in the creamy hummus made for a side dish that I could chow down any day of the week.
The next thing I tried was the curry chicken under a bed of yellow rice. Slow-cooked chicken, carrots and potatoes were covered in a yellow, curry sauce. The notable curry added a special heat and kick to the dish, and gave it the perfect touch.
My first bite of chicken curry changed the whole perspective of the restaurant around me. Worries of a dirty restaurant seemed to be erased from my mind and I was only focused on shoveling the food into my mouth.
I decided to cleanse my palette with a dessert item, so I went with the baklava. Baklava is a sweet, rich pastry made from layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and held together by either syrup or honey.
This baklava was filled to the brim with pecans and generously drizzled chocolate on top. The baked, crispy layers of dough melted in my mouth when combined with the sticky layers of syrup and pecans. Although it was definitely rich, it was definitely delicious.
As we paid for our meal, we were all pleasantly surprised to find how inexpensive our meal was for three people plus dessert. All three of us walked out of the tattered door frame with full bellies and happy ones at that.
Besides the weird quirks and dirty atmosphere, Jerusalem Cafe and Bakery focuses on the quality of their food rather than the appearance of their restaurant. I am now a Mediterranean fanatic as well and will be taking several trips to this new favorite dinner spot of mine.