Dar Salam Lazurdi opened August 12 at 320 SW Alder in the space formerly inhabited by the Sugar Mama's cafe, and it is the only brick-and-mortar restaurant dedicated to traditional Iraqi food in Portland. The restaurant offers a rare opportunity to try such Iraqi foods as rice and vegetable-stuffed dolma with onion in place of grape leaves and mixed grill with chicken, lamb, and beef kebabs.
Owner Ghaith Sahib and his mother, both of who were born in Iraq, rule the kitchen, drawing from family recipes. Speaking with Eater, Ghaith explained that he has the opportunity to develop new dishes now that he has a real kitchen (on Alberta, the chefs still cook out of the food cart due to some regulation or another). He tries to use local and organic ingredients when possible and has options for vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten-free.
Ghaith runs the restaurant with his wife Tiffany, and they started out with the Aladdin's Castle Café food cart back in 2011. In 2012, they opened Dar Salam on Alberta.
One of the most ambitious things about Dar Salam Lazurdi is its cocktail program—a concept typically foreign to the Middle East. The program focuses on infusions with Middle Eastern ingredients, from tamarind and hibiscus to saffron. Served with a lemon twist, the Tree of Life mixes fresh sage-infused gin with Herbsaint, Peychaud's barrel-aged bitters, grenadine, and dry cider.
Another attraction to Dar Salam Lazurdi is its brilliant interior murals, and we'll share an Eater Insider photo gallery just as soon as the photos come in.