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Bawadi Mediterranean Grill & Sweets Cafe - Middle Eastern Cuisine with a Separate, Small, Baked Goods Counter in Bailey's Crossroads

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I've driven past Bawadi (formerly Samedi Sweets Cafe) many, many times in the past, but have never been in, so I thought it was high time I scoped out the scene.

When I opened the door, I was greeted by an automated recording triggered by the door opening. Presumably this was a one-sentence greeting, but I was joking to myself that it was really saying, "If you don't understand this, then turn around and get the hell out of here!"

I walked straight to the sweets counter, but couldn't help noticing the somewhat meager lunch buffet. However, I peeked inside the food warmers, and a lot of the things looked really good - there were, for example some plain grilled meats to go along with traditional stews - perhaps a dozen things in all. I asked the lady behind the sweets counter, and she said the weekday price is $9.95, and from what I saw, that was definitely a bargain.

I ordered two things to go: a Kanafeh and a Nammoura, and although I don't know the price, the total came out to something like $7.78 - I just gave the lady $9.00. She thoughtfully packed the sugar syrup for the Nammoura in a separate tin, and I didn't even put it on until the next day (Nammoura is the Lebanese name for this extremely common Middle-Eastern treat, and I'm not sure I've ever had a bad one - especially when it's doused in orange-blossom or rosewater syrup).

Unfortunately, the Kanafeh (the one that looks like it has shredded carrots on top which is actually shredded, toasted wheat), is a cheese-based dessert, and the cheese at the bottom of mine was not the freshest. While not completely over-the-hill, it was not as "new" as I would prefer, and after eating half of the dessert, I flipped it over, took a whiff, and decided not to finish - it wasn't *bad*, mind you; but I'd had my fill, and I've had this dessert many times when it was just compelling; this just wasn't worth the considerable calories given that it wasn't outstanding.

On my way out, I opened the door, and got a different greeting, one which I imagined to be something like, "And stay out, white boy!" I smiled, got into my car, and drove down Route 7.

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Bawadi has moved since this post and is now a full service restaurant with a pleasant buffet at lunch, about as good as Bamian's on the entrees, better on the apps. The problem at lunch is they are quite slow refilling the hot dishes which can be frustrating when 2 or 3 of the 5 dishes are empty.  I had never thought to try them for dinner until last night.

We ordered way too much food as the Small Bawadi Mixed Grill platter would have been too much.  We added Fatouch salad {unnecessary as a nice and similar salad came unannounced with the mixed grill, and foul mudamas, which was good, a very thick version.  The mixed grill came on a thin bread topped with a yellow rice and a white rice covered in meats and veggies.  The surprise of the meats were the two schwarmas, highly seasoned strips of beef and chicken. Outstanding and a bargain if ordered on their own.  There was quite good lamb, chicken and outstanding ground meat kubideh {kafta} and quite tasty grilled veggies.  We ate our fill and had enough leftovers for both lunch and dinner.  They gave us a sampler of desserts {bassboussa with pistachio, almond and best of all pecan.}

We sat outside after the rain had cooled things off. In fact, it was cooler outside than inside.  

This is the kind of place where I would love to gather 12 friends and have the restaurant cook what they want.  Our server was excited at the prospect.  

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20 minutes ago, deangold said:

Bawadi has moved since this post and is now a full service restaurant with a pleasant buffet at lunch, about as good as Bamian's on the entrees, better on the apps.

Whoa! That used the be the Sunflower space - as many times as I've driven by there recently, I didn't realize Bawadi had moved in.

Sep 13, 2008 - "Bawadi Replaces Sunflower amid Patron Turmoil" by Orrin Konheim on fcnp.com

(I thought you didn't like Seven Corners!)

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Way back in the '80s, when Joe Thiesmann's restaurant was on the corner of that strip, Samadi Sweets Cafe was the necessary stop for dessert. Apparently much has changed since my previous visits. If I recall correctly there was an Iranian restaurant across the way.....

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