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Joz: The Lebanese Diner that’s Innovative, Tasty and Smoke-Free
I liked this place first time so why not visit again shortly after? I loved the decor, enjoyed the music, the freshness and positive vibes, the colorful material, the welcoming staff... I liked the "Lebanese Diner" approach that Joz offers.
Joz, in my opinion, is a good way of introducing Lebanese cuisine to the world with a simple, fresh touch. This concept is the perfect franchise, the world awaits and could enjoy Lebanese cuisine in a casual American diner-style restaurant with easy access and few restrictions. Joz is not like the "with a twist" concept, but more about Lebanese food "more accessible" to the younger generation.
To refresh your memory since the last review, let me take you around Joz...
The first impression is great, a really beautiful piece of architecture where the old and new blend beautifully in a square space. Concrete covers the floor with batches of old-style tiles, light wooden tables fill in the space surrounded by traditional chairs, a series of leather benches take over the left wall while individual black lights hang down from the ceiling.
The details are amazing... Burgundy panels cover the left wall while the right wall is a large glass facade opening up to the outside and the main facing wall is made of wood, tiny little blocks of wood one on top of the other. The restaurant is divided in half by another long bench and you can enjoy a view on the kitchen from a hole in the wall by the bar.
A plate of Joz (walnuts) lands on your table as soon as you enter. A small detail I liked: The benches are made of leather and look like stacked suitcases.
The menu: 4 colors, 4 sections on a wood board.
- Shared soups and appetizers
- Fresh salads
- Traditional wrap platters
- Fulfilling platters
- Savory desserts
- Cool beverages
Lunch was served:
- Labneh Bites: A selection of three homemade balls of goat Labneh, one plain, another topped with Zaatar and the third mixed with spicy olives. The quality of the Labneh is good, fresh, and it doesn't stick in the teeth, while the size is generous. I loved the spicy one the most.
- Halloumi Wrap: One of the best orders this restaurant has to offer.The traditional and heavenly taste of melted Halloumi cheese, topped with cherry tomatoes and wrapped in thyme dough. A loaded portion of juicy grilled Halloumi cheese, fresh tomatoes for the sweetness, and toasted bread covered with Zaatar adding flavor and aroma. A subtle crunch of the Markouk bread, a melting and juicy heart; a superb sandwich.
- Tabboulet Malfouf: I loved it so much that we started doing making it at home on a weekly basis. An old fashioned salad originating from Zahle: White cabbage, cracked wheat, onions and mint, with olive oil and fresh lemon juice for a dressing. Awesome! Thinly sliced cabbage with a mint flavor, while the borghol add an interesting crunch. What a salad, what a simple creation, what an enjoyable bite. Don't skip it.
- Lebanese Burger: 200 grams of chargrilled fresh ground beef topped with grilled onions, tomato, coleslaw, pickles, French fries with ketchup and a mustard spread. That's a good one indeed. A firm, crispy, European-style bun filled with ingredients and a thick, juicy lightly red patty. I liked it and recommend it. If it's Lebanese, the bun shouldn't be from Prunelle, but from a local producer, giving it the nostalgic touch of our childhood, from before those big bread factories existed.
- Joz special shawarma: A marinated traditional shawarma, slow roasted to perfection, wrapped in pita bread with grilled onions and tomato slices, chopped parsley and pickles, topped with sesame sauce. A new approach to shawarma. Charcoal grilled yet juicy, wrapped in toasted bread, generously loaded with all the vegetables. A huge plate served with hummus, tabbouleh malfouf and French fries on the side. I loved the bread and the filling as well. If only this huge plate was smaller, it didn’t even fit on the table.
- Mixed grills: Using the same dough as the Shawarma, the skewers are fitted in sandwiches and cut into individual bites. A good quality and flavorful ending. With that are French fries which I liked.
I enjoyed lunch as much as I did dinner the other day, so to make the experience complete we had to continue with their mouthwatering desserts.
- Mafrouket Ashta: A pistachio purée, or Mafrouket festok with rose water topped with fresh ashta and decorated with pistachio slices. The pistachio purée is well balanced without being gooey or sweet while the Kashta is served cold and fresh. Super yummy!
- The Joz tart: I personally fell in love with it. Blending East with West, a fresh and crunchy dough topped with pastry cream and walnuts on top with a sprinkle of sugar. Sugar powder adds the needed sweetness. I liked the custard feel of the cream, the size of this huge tart, the crunchiness of the walnuts and the sweetness. A signature one must not skip, a cake better than many specialized pastry shops. Bravo.
- Smoking is not allowed indoors and they do not have Arguile.
- The staff is young and fresh and has been trained well.
- Everyone is welcoming and prepared to make you remember your experience.
- The plates are super generously filled.
- The food is tasty.
- The plates are huge and hardly fit on the table.
- It's very upsetting to see prices increase so much in less than a month. The menus could have been changed discretely without anyone noticing. It shows greediness, which does not reflect the vision of this restaurant or its owners.
- If soups are not available anymore, change the menu and remove them.
- The burgundy wall looks cold; some paintings or vinyl designs on it can make a big difference.
My second visit in less than a month and nothing changed, indeed, everything was drastically improved. The food is tasty and the experience enjoyable, I invite everyone to try.