Three former key players from Eastern Mediterranean hotspot Maydan just opened Yasmine, an all-day Lebanese kebabs and cocktail bar at Union Market. Barman Said Haddad, a Lebanese native, and longtime co-chefs Chris Morgan and Gerald Addison took over the food hall’s anchor bar previously operated by Rappahannock Oyster Co. On tap: grilled kebabs, stuffed shawarmas, “drinking sandwiches,” fun non-alcoholic concoctions, and all the Arak you can sip from morning to night.
The trio first bonded helping open the fiery Shaw restaurant in 2017, which they left over two years later shortly after it gained a Michelin star. Together, they’re also behind American fry joint Little Chicken in downtown DC, alongside various other partnerships (Bammy’s, Grazie Nonna). For Yasmine—named after Haddad’s grandmother—the team envisioned a high-energy grazing counter with 36 seats between the full U-shaped bar and high-top tables, plus plenty of room to spread out beyond. The menu is also designed for takeout and delivery, and diners can sip and stroll with drinks on the market grounds.
Diners can start with a variety of homemade spreads served flatbreads from a Virginia bakery, including lesser seen dishes like balila, a stewed chickpea and garlic dip popular in Beirut. You can also graze on vegetable plates such as fattoush salad or aromatic braised green beans with tomato.
Groups can share platters loaded with hummus, salads, flatbreads, fries, kebabs, or a vegetarian option with falafel and crispy eggplant. Nearly a dozen pita sandwiches make up the rest of the mains. Meatless doesn’t mean less hearty here—take the eggplant sandwich loaded with hummus, sumac-spiced onions, green cabbage, hard boiled egg, spicy sahawiq sauce, and fresh herbs. An early favorite of Haddad is the chicken with garlicky toum, pickles, and fries. “It’s a drinking sandwich, the kind you’ll get after the club,” he says.
Drinking sandwiches deserve arak service—a Lebanese tradition of sipping the anise-scented spirit over long dinners. Haddad serves arak by the glass or pitcher alongside little snacks like mixed pickles or dates with citrus and salt. Other fun sips include a handful of cocktails—my eye is on the gin martini with cucumber shrub, lemon peel, and dill—natural wines, beers, and some fun non-alcoholic options like limonata (a lemon and mint slushie) and nitro cardamom coffee. If you’ve never tried jallab, a Lebanese date and grape drink with golden raisins and pine nuts, now’s your chance.
“This food is our love. It’s our home,” says Haddad. “It’s especially dear to me, being Lebanese dude growing up in America, the food is what connected me to my roots.”
Yasmine. Open daily, 11 AM to 9 PM. 1309 Fifth St., NE (inside Union Market)
Check out the menus here: