Sweet treats

. October 31, 2012.

Zamaan Café
865 W Eisenhower Blvd.
Mon-Thur: 10:30am-9:00pm
Fri & Sat: 10:30am-10:00pm
Sun: 11:00am-9:00pm

Over the years, several restaurants have occupied #865 in the Colonnade Shopping Plaza. I recall a frozen custard place and a diner. At the end of 2011, the address became the home of Zamaan Café, which serves traditional Lebanese food. This is the second of two Ann Arbor locations for Zamaan Café, both owned by Ali Hijazi. Although the other location, on Plymouth Road, shares the same menu, this review covers
the Colonnade location only. The other Zamaan Café can be found on Plymouth Road, in the Plymouth Green Shopping Center. Both locations offer a casual dining atmosphere, with tables and booths interspersed among Mediterranean décor. The Plymouth Road location, open since 2010, serves the same menu, except for gyros which are only offered at the new location.

My family dined at the Colonnade location and found it quiet on a Friday night, save for the Mediterranean music in the background. We settled into a booth and perused the menu. It boasted Mediterranean dishes including grape leaves, hummus, pita wraps, gyros and specialties like shish tawook and kufta harra. While the dining room was not crowded, there was a steady stream of takeout customers. We started with Baba Ghannuj, baked eggplant mixed with Tahini and garlic. Offered in two portion sizes, we selected the small portion for $3.99 which was as big as an ice cream scoop. The dip was excellent:
flavorful, creamy and strong and plenty of fresh pita bread accompanied it.

Fan favorites

Our server told us that chicken shawarma, chicken kabob and shish tawook were the most popular main dishes. My husband selected the large chicken kabob for $12.99 while I chose the chicken shawarma pita wrap with rice for $7.99. Kids’ menu items included chicken tenders,
chicken breast or grilled cheese for $4.99 with fries or rice and a drink. My five-year-old daughter selected chicken tenders while my eight-year-old son asked for grilled cheese. “Wait. Let me make extra sure we have that,” replied the server. I thought that was strange, considering
there were only three items on the kids menu. She trotted back and confirmed it was available.

My husband’s entrée came with a small house salad, which he ate while the rest of us waited. We played a rousing game of I Spy using the restaurant’s Mediterranean décor, such as hookahs and desert paintings. When the main dishes were served, my husband commented, “This is the large?” His chicken kabob portion seemed just enough. He declared that  the chicken breast marinated with saffron and the accompanying yogurt cucumber salad tasted good, but not great. My chicken shawarma was stuffed with tangy marinated chicken breast and thigh. However, I found the pita wrap slightly dry. I would have appreciated more pickles and garlic sauce (although my husband might disagree on the garlic sauce!) My almond rice was slightly undercooked.

Savory delights

My son demolished his grilled cheese, a triple-decker with three pieces of bread sandwiching two pieces of cheese. My five-year-old only had eyes for her chicken tenders. Both happily agreed to dessert and shared a strawberry delight smoothie of blended strawberries, mangoes and orange juice. The smoothie was not very thick with a consistency more of fruit juice than a shake. My husband and I split honey coconut cake, a new delicacy for us. The dense, chewy coconut was drenched in honey and a sweet treat we both enjoyed.

Some things we tried at Zamaan Café were yummy, and others could have packed more punch. I do know that plenty of families head to the Col

onnade to take advantage of the shopping plaza’s family-friendly restaurants serving pizza, burgers and Mexican food. When the newly opened Zamaan Café hits its stride, it may become the go-to Mediterranean option on the block.

Kid-friendly Yes
To avoid wait Lunch is busierthan dinner
Noise level High due to the
background music
Bathroom amenities Changing table
in women’s
High chairs Yes
Got milk No
Kids’ menu Yes
Anything healthy for kids Chicken breast with riceFood allergy concerns Let your server know of any allergies and the cook will prepare separately.

Katy M. Clark is a mom and freelance writer from Saline.