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In Dining

OnMilwaukee.com readers chose Casablanca as their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant.

Milwaukee's best Middle Eastern, 2008: Casablanca


The votes are in, and the winners have been selected for OnMilwaukee's Best Dining 2008. The results of this readers' poll, including an editors' pick, are available in this series of articles that run all October long during Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com.

October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, special features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food. Bon appetit!

Casablanca joined the Brady Street dining family in late 2005, after long stints on Mitchell Street and on Oakland Avenue in Shorewood. And the Middle Eastern restaurant seems to be holding strong at 728 E. Brady St., a spot that has seen numerous turnovers over the years, from Sherman's on Brady to Tarantino's Beyond the Sea, to Di Salvo & Brennan's, the short-lived Rudolph Valentino's, and the more recent Club 728.

The dinner menu here is heavily carnivorous, featuring several varieties of lamb -- roasted, kebabs, shawarma and lamb steak -- as well as chicken bathed in garlic, spices, onions and crushed berries and tenderloin kebabs.

The weekday lunch buffet, however, is another animal entirely.

For $6.95, the all-you-can eat buffet seems an endless array of completely vegetarian and vegan options, from the usual offerings of hummus, couscous, babaghannoj (baked eggplant pureed with tahini, olive oil, lemon and garlic) and perfectly fried falafel (ground chick peas and vegetables, formed into balls and deep fried with Middle Eastern spices), to more usual -- yet delectably smelling -- entrees such as tahini pasta (dairy-free), eggplant potatoes, mixed vegetable stew, spinach pie and sweet carrots baked with garlic vegetable sauce.

Experienced buffet diners go light on the sides, saving stomach space for the restaurant's real highlights like the bed of couscous covered with a combo of stewed eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions and chick peas in a tomato sauce, or the hand stuffed grape leaves -- which, on the dinner menu, come vegetarian or stuffed with seasoned ground beef, onions and rice.

OnMilwaukee.com editors' choice: Shaharazad

Runners-up:
2. Tulip
3. Shaharazad
4. Abu's
5. Aladdin
6. Shiraz
7. Yaffa
8. Sahar
9. 2 Sweet


Talkbacks

Foodlover | Nov. 2, 2008 at 9:47 p.m. (report)

Oh my god, Casablanca has such great food and a fantastic atmosphere! There's nothing like going for some baked lamb and a hookah.... especially when its so close. I Love It!.

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Z_boy | Nov. 1, 2008 at 11:31 a.m. (report)

Not a bad choice, though I would make a case for Shaharazad being up at No. 1 (and way cheaper, too). I was surprised that Abu's made it in the Top 5. There was a time when Abu's was all Milwaukee really had, and back then, it was damn good. But nowadays, all its food tastes like leftovers that have been reheated in a microwave. It's a shame, really.

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dickdave | Nov. 1, 2008 at 9:10 a.m. (report)

The lunch buffet is excellent with a nice variety. The service is very cordial and nice. It is also getting a nice lunch crowd which is great to see.

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InTheView | Nov. 1, 2008 at 12:32 a.m. (report)

Does a restaurant need a buffet to win one of these things? That is so *Milwaukee*... Last time I went to Casablanca, their falafel at the buffet was over fried. Bleh. Even when their buffet is good, it's still not as good as fresh food at other places. I've been there several times over the past year, and each time I go it's the same thing on the buffet... They never change. If you want good, just go to Shiraz, and get something off the menu. Shiraz has the *BEST* falafel in the city.

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FunkyBrewster | Oct. 31, 2008 at 2:25 p.m. (report)

I never noticed stuff grape leaves at buffet.. all the mentioned middle eastern places are great but casas lunch buffet is awesome good job milwaukee you got this one right!

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