In case you haven’t noticed Wichita has a bunch of Lebanese/Mediterranean/Middle Eastern inspired restaurants. If anyone kept records on the amount of hummus consumed per person I bet that Wichita would be way up there on the list. Maybe a close second to Beirut. N and J Cafe is one of the grandaddy Lebanese establishments in Wichita that just about everyone who enjoys Lebanese food has been to. Steph and I swung by here recently to see how the place was doing after all these years.
N and J is divided into a restaurant and a bakery section. The bakery sells all those delightful Middle Eastern favorites such as hummus, pita bread, and baklava. The restaurant menu is straight up authentic with hummus, baba ganoush, cabbage rolls, shwarma, falafel, etc. On this occasion we had an order of grapes leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef as an appetizer. They were fresh and warm with just the right amount of tanginess. For dinner we both decided to try something new, which was very hard for Steph since she loves the chicken shawarma. She went with the falafel pita and I went with the kafta pita. For those you who don’t know falafel is basically ground chickpeas and spices that have been rolled into a ball and then fried. A kafta sandwich consists of seasoned ground beef and tahini sauce. Steph was not a big fan of her sandwich due to the fact that she thought the falafel were rather bland. I myself thought it was just fine. Both of us agreed that the kafta sandwich was really good. For one of my sides I decided to go out on a limb and order baba ganoush, which is very similar to hummus except it is made with roasted, pureed eggplant. It has a very distinctive smokey and tangy taste, we both enjoyed it though.
If you are looking for real traditional Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine you can’t go wrong with N and J’s. If you need further convincing just think of the all the pita bread and baklava that you can buy at their bakery after your tasty meal. Just because you are at a place that serves hummus, fight the urge to order it and try something new. Chances are in this town you have probably had hummus at least 3 times in the past week anyway.