Faisal Abdelsamad is an energetic young man with a warm smile. Growing up in Amman, Jordan, he took on roles around the house.
“My mother had a full-time job,” he recalls. “So my brother and I tried to cook to help her.”
He quickly fell in love with it.
“Whenever I feel stressed, I cook,” he says.
When he first came to Tulsa six years ago, the only job he could get was washing dishes at a restaurant. His first day at work, he remembers, “I began thinking, one day I must be an owner.” So he worked from eight in the morning till 11 at night, day after day, year after year, until now – running his own bright, new restaurant on 11th Street.
He uses family recipes, and sometimes he makes mansaf, the unofficial national dish of Jordan. But for the most part he does “a mix of food from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon,” dishes we all know, such as kebabs, tabouli, hummus and babaganoush – and he does them well.
The ground beef kebabs are fine and beefy; the chicken kebabs are redolent of spice; the babaganoush has a rich, smoky flavor; the fuul is a rich, flavorful bean stew; and the other small plates, especially the hummus, just beg to be eaten.
What’s Abdelsamad’s favorite?
“I love the mixed plate, because it has everything,” he says.
2623 E. 11th St., Tulsa; palmyragrilltulsa.com