Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - September 2014

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32 Hudson Valley Parent ■ September 2014 ALADDIN CAFE 2537 Route 52, Hopewell Junction 845-592-4343 • Perfect for date night Perfect for the kids Since opening three years ago, Aladdin Café has quietly built a reputation as not only one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the Mid-Hudson Valley, but one of the most family-friendly as well. Curious to try it, my wife and I brought our 2-year-old son there for an early dinner. We enjoyed a glass of homemade mint lemonade and a small elegant pot of rosewater tea while perusing the menu, then sat back as our table became fl ooded with a wide variety of dishes. Smooth and creamy hummus was fi rst, accompanied by a warm stack of pita bread, sweet with char from the oven. Next, the platter of falafel was a marvel; each individual piece was uniformly crunchy on the outside, soft and yielding on the inside. The tabouleh was minty and refreshing, and the bowl of lentil soup was savory and earthy. Next was Foul Mudamas, a traditional dish of fava beans. The three of us happily passed the multitude of plates back and forth, but when the chicken shish kebab platter arrived we fell on it with equal measure. The chicken, marinated in olive oil and a secret blend of spices, was moist, tender, and gone in a fl ash. The café's dessert menu boasts an impressive array of homemade cookies, brownies, and other bite-sized temptations. We nibbled on a gluten-free almond cookie and a crunchy Barazza — a pistachio cookie coated in toasted sesame seeds. Aladdin Café is a haven for those with dietary concerns or restric- tions. The meat is all halal and hormone-free, and the menu features a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. As we chatted with the owner on the way out, she mentioned that often groups of parents will call ahead and ask them to stream cartoons via Netfl ix to one of the fl atscreen TVs hanging in the back section of the dining room, so that the adults can enjoy their meal in the front while kids congregate and feast in the back. It's consistent with the way this family-run establishment makes their guests feel like part of the family as well. Brian PJ Cronin lives with his family in Beacon. HUNGRY FOR MORE? Visit our guide for kid-friendly restaurants in your area Your wish is granted at Aladdin Café Authentic, homemade Middle Eastern food in Southern Dutchess County ✓ ✓ Dining out

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