Levantine Cuisine Restaurant, Albi, Opening in Navy Yard

Chef Michael Rafidi is getting set for a February 20, 2020 opening for Albi, his Navy Yard restaurant with a new perspective on traditional Levantine cuisine.

Levantine refers to the historical region of Syria, which included present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. Arabic for “my heart,” Albi (1346 4th Street SE) will offer a menu inspired by Rafidi’s Middle Eastern heritage.

“My grandfather was a chef in D.C. for decades and honored his Palestinian ancestry through his food. Those early memories I have with him in his kitchen helped shape who I am as a chef,” Rafidi said. “When I decided to open my own restaurant, it seemed natural to return to my roots and cook the food I grew up eating, but from the perspective of where my travels, training, and experience have taken me through my career.”

Albi’s menu highlights wood and charcoal cooking in dishes like sfeeha and fatayer (Lebanese meat and spinach pies), manti dumplings with kefta, urfa chili crisp, and garlic yogurt, and kibbeh naya prepared two ways – a version with raw lamb and spices, and another spotlighting in-season vegetables – both served with man’oushe and garlic toum.

*Images courtesy Albi

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