By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Alexis Steak & Pizza will be tossing away their menu for the evening May 4 to bring residents a little baklava and a lot of belly dancing. The newly-renovated restaurant’s Arabian Night will start at 7:30 p.m. and co-owner George Akle said tickets to the limited seating event are going well.
The idea for the event came from a regular customer who asked about the food and customs of the Akle family’s Lebanese heritage. That inquiry resulted in the customer being taken to a Lebanese restaurant to sample the food, and was followed by his suggestion the idea should be brought to Morinville.
“We wanted to bring something to town and let people try something from a different culture,” Mr. Akle said, adding the evening will mix a taste of Lebanese food with Lebanese culture.
Doris Akle said belly dancing will be a highlight of the evening. “Everybody has a cultural dancer and the belly dancer is to show how we dance,” she said, adding traditionally the dancer would be paired with a Lebanese singer. “It’s nice to show the culture with the food and the dancing.”
The evening will include a large sampling of the traditional foods of Lebanon, a diet Mr. Akle said is 75 per cent vegetarian and 25 per cent meat. Olive oil is an essential ingredient over any other type, and pastries and desserts are often made with a special sugary syrup. Baklava is the desert of choice for the evening, a sweet pastry common in Lebanon and Greece and known for its generous use of the sweet syrup.
But before diners satisfy their sweet tooth, the evening will commence with hummus, Tabouleh and Fatouch, the latter two are salads that must be on the table at any proper Lebanese meal. Additionally, the restaurant will serve baba ghanoush, rice stuffed grape leaves, Lebanese sausage, kofta, shish kebobs and a chicken dish with a special garlic sauce.
The addition of an Arabian Night follows on the proprietor’s new energy since recently renovating the long-standing Morinville restaurant. “People love it,” Mr. Akle said of the response to the new look. “They feel like it is something completely different. This restaurant has been here for a long time and it had the same look. Now it’s brighter. They love it. I love it.”
Tickets for the Arabian Night are $40 per person and available at Alexis Steak & Pizza or by calling the restaurant at 780-939-5668.
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