Bilad – Iraqi

Come for the food, not the service, but the food will keep you coming back.  For that matter, maybe just the bread will!  Similar to Pita, clearly homemade, and served with a oil, seseme and spice before your meal comes, it is ridiculously tasty.  This, coupled with the deserts at Albaghdady, will make you consider Iraqui baked goods from now on.

The bread along with the best lentil soup in Dallas could suffice for lunch (and will for me in the future I’m sure).  Lentil soup tells a lot about a restaurant. This was homemade, without the mushy lentil taste so common, and instead with rice and spices.

My entree was lamb kebab. Very good lamb. Hummus was better. Pickles, grilled tomato, grilled onion and fresh onion slices all complimented the meat, as did the three sauces (yogurt, spicy red? And ?). Shawarma was a hit too.

Service: Yes, it is quite bad, as many reviews reflect. I tried to charm the server, but she would have none of it. Could have been my “charm”. That said, no water is served and you’ll need to let the staff know what you want or you’ll just be sitting there. I asked for recommendations, but none were forthcoming. I also asked about what they pickled in-house, and she pointed to a couple of jars but volunteered nothing further.

I did some internet digging related to Iraqi food (below) that may influence my selections next time.

Iraqi Food Facts:

Tablets found in ancient ruins in Iraq show recipes prepared in the temples during religious festivals – the first cookbooks in the world according to Wikipedia.

In Iraq, as it is in many predominantly Muslim countries, it is offensive to use one’s left hand while eating because the left hand is considered to be unclean.

Iraq’s national dish is Masgouf (impaled fish) and its national cookie is Kleicha (meaning circle or wheel), both of which can be traced back to antiquity According to the Arab American Institute, there are approximately 140,000 Iraqi Americans living in the U.S.

One of Iraq’s distinctive plants is licorice, which has been used for thousands of years for its health effects. Warriors in ancient armies found that chewing it kept them from getting thirsty.

For 5,000 years Iraqis have been keeping bees. Honey is an important source of food and income for many Iraq families

As to the Iraqi population in Dallas, you may find this interesting from the Texas Observer.

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