Hoda's Middle Eastern Cuisine

3401 SE Belmont St
(503) 236-8325
get there via trimet

revised 1/3/2006
Okay. I initially thought there were two Lebanese restaurant families, but it appears most (Arabian Breeze, YaHala, Hoda's, Karam, Long Island Pizzeria), like Kevin Bacon, are related to Nicolas. Hoda's is run by Hoda Khouri, daughter of the founder of Nicholas. Hoda's is a smidge more expensive than Nicolas, which is to say it's still fairly outrageously cheap, and unlike the claustrophic interior and almost constant lines at Nicolas, Hoda's is really pleasant inside. Sure, you can get the special, which is less than $15, or one of the plates, which is less than $10, or you can get a sandwich (around $5), soup & salad, etc. You can have beer (on tap, even) or wine. But, no credit cards. No ATM. And while we had great meals (the lamb special, super falafel, kibbeh, lentil soup and zaatar pie, artichoke pie, baba ghanouje, and maanek), it seems that the kitchen is not obsessed with attention to detail. Entrees allow an upgrade to the salad, adding feta and olives. 2 of us ordered that, and none of us got that. The artichoke pie is supposed to have sun-dried tomatoes—but none were to be found.

My dining companions were thrilled by the food. Was it the best pita, zaatar, sfeeha, or baba that I've had in town? No. Parking is a hassle as well. I was impressed with the prices and the unclaustrophobic atmosphere. If you show some self-control, you can eat better, and as cheaply, at YaHala in Montavilla (though I don't have that sort of self-control). And YaHala has a full bar, more street parking, and they take credit cards. Though, if you have the cash and the inclination, it is hard to beat the original, Nicolas (cheap and delicious, no alcohol, iffy parking, no cards).

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January 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (3)


ExtraMSG said:

Hate to break it to you, but they're both part of the same clan. The wife in the Karam/Long Island couple is the sister or some such of the Nicholas/Ya Hala/Hoda's something-or-other. They're all five part of the same clan.

Personally, I don't think Hoda's is in the same league -- not even close -- with Karam/Nicholas/Ya Hala. I wouldn't even put it with La Villa, Cedars, and some others. And then on top of that you can't even pay with card.

Adam said:

I love Hoda's. Whenever I go, I get the Mezza, a combination of items. While I've never noticed not getting the right thing, I've never worried much about it, either. There's always plenty of food and all of it is yummy.

Angelhair said:

Long Island has changed hands and is now operated by a cousin of the Karam guy, but he's related to the Nicholas people too. The restaurant hasn't changed its menu yet, but the name is new, something like Habibi. He said that they are planning a remodel.

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