Cousin’s kafta satisfying to the palate

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

One of America’s greatest exports is the culinary concept in which a cooked ground meat patty is placed between two slices

of bread.

We call the creation a hamburger.

In the Lake Area, it is rather easy to find a hamburger that will satisfy the meat urge. The only question most of us have

to answer is whether or not a fast food or individually prepared burger is what we want to eat.

When you think about hamburgers and the limitless opportunities that exist in tweaking the flavor or enhancing the visual

presentation, it can be a bit exciting if a person is not a burger purist.

The version offered at Cousin’s Lebanese Cuisine, at 2612 Kirkman St., is developing a following because it is a bit out of

the proverbial box.

The kafta burger — a 10-ounce ground rib-eye that is grilled and topped with Feta cheese, cheddar cheese, pickles, tomatoes,

onions and a spring mix — is an amped-up version of the kafta kabob.

According to the restaurant’s menu, kafta is a “perfect balance of ground rib-eye kneaded with house blend of spices, chopped

parsley and onion.”

George and Sam Homsi, owners of the restaurant, ate hamburgers when they lived in Lebanon.

“They are very popular back home. Even the same buns are used,” George Homsi said.

Homsi’s burger is one of the main items

on the new Cousin’s lunch menu, which includes appetizers and a new

po’boy lineup

that features 8-inch or 12-inch sandwiches like: beef shawarma

(rib-eye with onions, sumac, pickles, turnips, tomatoes and

tahini sauce), spicy steak (rib-eye with onions, bell peppers and

spicy garlic sauce), chicken taouk (marinated chicken breast

with pickles, fried potatoes and garlic sauce), chicken shawarma

(marinated chicken breast with pickles, turnips, tomatoes,

onions, sumac, tahini sauce and garlic sauce), jambari (sauted

shrimp with spicy garlic butter, onions, tomatoes and lemon

juice), khanzier (pulled pork with pickles and homemade BBQ

sauce), kibbed (fried chicken liver with tomatoes, fried potatoes,

garlic sauce and lemon juice).

The restaurant has reopened for lunch. “We closed to buy the right equipment to prepare the type of foods we wanted to present

to our customers,” Homsi said.

He said that flavor that makes the restaurant’s food flavorful is created by using Lebanese 7 seasoning — which can consist

of cumin, paprika, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper — and satisfies the palates of diners.

Homsi also notes that all of the dishes prepared are made with high-quality products.

“Our hamburger is made with select rib-eye. Also, our use of onions makes the flavors of the kafta burger and other items

on the menu very flavorful,” he said.

Another strategic kitchen decision the Homsi brothers made was making sure their burger and po boys were on the appropriate

bread.

“Some people have asked why we don’t use pita bread. But that’s fast food. We use buns and po’boy bread because it takes the

juices from the meats and vegetables we prepare. You can’t go wrong when you have a juicy sandwich and a cold beverage for

lunch,” Homsi said.

Cousin’s Lebanese Cuisine (2612 B Kirkman St.)

• Open every day from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

Contact: 437-1144 or www.cousinslebanese.com