(Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:04 PM
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.