It’s rare to experience Syrian hospitality in RI, but that’s what you get at the recently opened Mosaic Restaurant in Rolfe Square in Cranston. Similar to the other food establishments in Rolfe Square, Mosaic Restaurant is filling a niche, like the European Food Market which houses a Russian deli, Chinese-American go-to King’s Garden Restaurant, Mexican-inspired eatery Mesa Cafe and Grill and the Character’s Cafe.
The Syrian restaurant was opened by two Syrian-born brothers Fadi and Shadi Al-Tarazi, who wanted to share their love for their culture. Most of the dishes on the menu have strong ties to Damascus, one of the oldest cities in the world. The cuisine is similar to other types of Middle Eastern fare, but Syrian food differs in the types of seasonings used and the quantity. The dishes overall tend to be on the tart side, and that’s how it should be. For example, sumac – a reddish spice with a lemony, tart flavor – is regularly sprinkled on hummus, salads and meat.
There are plenty of familiar dishes on the menu like falafel and chicken, and steak and lamb kebabs. You’ll also find more traditional items like Kibbeh, made of finely ground meat, onions, bulgur wheat and spices, which is a Syrian specialty traditionally made to welcome guests into the home. Another common appetizer is Mutabbal, where roasted eggplant is combined with garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil.
Throughout the restaurant there’s artwork of ornate mosques and neighborhood streets, highlighting the beauty of Fadi and Shadi’s birthplace. You’ll also find pieces of mosaic art everywhere you look. Fadi chose to incorporate mosaic patterns because it’s integral to Damascus culture. In fact, his love of this type of historical art is where the restaurant’s name comes from. The brothers, more than anything, want diners to come in and try the food they grew up making for their family. And if the mood strikes, partake in some hookah afterwards.
91 Rolfe Square, Cranston.