(First, I used to be "fresser" but someone took my name before I could register for it when the new site launched)
For those of you who were fans of the original Aladdins, I'm sorry to report that this is not going to make you jump for joy. After being closed for "remodeling," they've reopened, but it's not the same owner and Iman is no longer working there, what a pity! The menu is lots smaller too. One of the servers said that it was the same cook, but the food just doesn't taste the same at all! Particularly the pita, which is the saddest thing of all. If any of you have eaten the naan at Kalluri Corner in Princeton, then, well, that's the best comparison I can make--a bit gluey, too chewy, and a little underdone. Also, the flavor is different--where it used to be buttery and flaky-yet chewy, it's now much breadier tasting and b/c it's super puffy when brought to the table, you end up with one part being cracker thin and the other being slightly underbaked and a little gluey. Bummer!
The hummous is definitely different, not enough garlic and way less tahini. I don't mind less tahini, but I do mind how undersalted it was and usually i think Aladdins' food is oversalted. The baba ghanoush, on the other hand was tasty. The kibbe were good, nicely fried, not greasy. The foul maddamas was OK, probably about the same as before, though it was never a fave of mine.
The beef kefte was so underspiced as to be flavorless, disappointing. They used to make a fabulous chicken kefte but it is no more. The shish taouk, the chicken kebabs, were OK, but less juicy than previously.
I guess we were hoping for too much for the restaurant to be what it was with Iman in the kitchen. In truth, in the past, most of the dishes were tasty but not superb, but the pita, oh that pita. It was phenomenal. I liked going there with more than 3 people b/c then you could get away with ordering 2 pitas!
The upside of it not being as tasty is that now my food safari buddies and I can hit new places without being sidetracked by pilgrimages for pita!