BOSTON — The South End in the past couple of decades has become a destination for fine dining. A new addition to the list of restaurants there will be Nina and Raffi Festekjian’s anoush’ella saj kitchen, launched by this month.
The “fine casual” restaurant, the name of which literally means “may it be sweet,” is located at 53 West Newton St. and offers traditional Lebanese foods.
The space is large and airy, with a long communal table as well as many other smaller tables and cozy nooks. The large table is covered with glass, under which there are spaces filled with many of the Middle Eastern spices that will be used in the recipes, such as za’atar and cardamom, explained Nina Festekjian.
Some of the food that will be welcomed by those from the Middle East or simply fans of food from the region includes sabich, a sandwich with hardboiled eggs and grilled eggplants, as well as shakshukah, eggs in a rich garlicky tomato sauce.
The centerpiece of the restaurant is the saj, a convex griddle for making Lebanese flat bread, manoush. That bread then is transformed into various yummy concoctions such as manaish (olive oil and za’atar) or lahme jun (meat and tomato sauce).
There is also a lounge seating area, complete with Middle Eastern rugs. The flooring aims to reproduce the cobble stone look of old streets and a small wagon will showcase some of the items on sale.