Mama Ayesha’s

There have been changes at this much-loved Lebanese restaurant over the years, but they occur at a comfortably slow pace. A recent visit found Helen Thomas still in her favorite booth with a group of friends, the hospitality just as warm, and the food just as good and inexpensive. Start with hummus–the version with ground lamb and pine nuts is delicious–baba ghanoush, or lebnah, a creamy cheese made from strained yogurt.

Lots of choices follow: a flavorful Middle Eastern variety of squash stuffed with ground lamb; grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful mixture of rice, tomatoes, herbs, and spices; kebabs of lamb, chicken, or ground beef; a tender, long-cooked lamb shank; and musakan, a half chicken baked with onions, pine nuts, and sumac. The wine list offers a good selection of drinkable and inexpensive Lebanese wines.