BY JASON PINTO – STAFF WRITER
Danville is not on the top of the charts when it comes to culinary variety, but I will not let that stop me from bringing you quality food reviews from some of the hottest new places popping up in the area.
This week, Jake McGuirk and I hit up ‘Tut’s, A Taste of Egypt’, the new addition that came to Main Street in June 2016, near the Community Arts Centre.
The interior of Tut’s is small and a little cramped and reminded me of a dive I would find in New York. There are a few tables and a bar along the wall to sit down and eat at, but it seems more appropriate for takeout or a quick bite.
The decor was spot on with the average American’s perception of Egypt; there was a large sarcophagus and Ancient Egyptian artwork along the walls. If I had not previously known this was a restaurant, I would have thought I had walked into an amateur museum exhibit.
The owner of the restaurant, Ashraf Ramadan Emam, is from Cairo, Egypt, and all of the dishes served at the restaurant are his mother’s recipes.
The first items on the menu are the lamb and chicken kabobs which are staples of Mediterranean fare. The chicken was a bit bland and overcooked, but the lamb was money: good texture, absolutely delicious. Tut’s serves up huge portions, most meals coming with a small salad, rice, and pita.
The falafel was lightly fried and touched the palate with subtle herb flavors and an explosion of garbanzo bean goodness. It was straight falafelistic. Speaking of garbanzo beans, the hummus was surprisingly tasty. The was a nice lemony finish with an unexpected heat.
To offset the heaviness of the falafel, I dove into the salad next. I am not a huge salad fan, but I can appreciate a well composed salad. This salad was just sad – there was nothing really interesting about it. It reminded me of a salad from Pizza Hut buffet with a handful of sliced olives sprinkled on.
The dish Ramadan Emam is proudest of is “Mom’s moussaka” which is a lamb dish similar to shepherd’s pie. The moussaka was, as expected, quite superb. The lamb base was flavorful, and the topping was creamy. It took comfort food to a whole new level.
By far the highlight of the entire meal was the Omali, an Egyptian dessert similar to a bread pudding. It was prime time. The bread part of the Omali, Ashraf told me, was made of phyllo dough, which gave it a distinct texture and even consistency. The texture of the nuts contrasted with the soft phyllo, and syrup made this dessert on par with some of the best.
I give this restaurant four stars out of five. There is a variety of hearty, authentic Egyptian fare that is filling and satisfying. Jake was a fan; he commented, ‘The Kebab was popping, and the Omali sent me to Flavortown.’
Tut’s is soon offering a 10% discount to Centre students. If you are nearby or looking for something new to eat other than the typical Danville fare, hit up Tut’s. It is interesting, unique food at a good value.