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It’s Hookah Time at Tarboosh

What’s a soul to do when the party’s done but you’re not, it’s 3 a.m., post-libation hunger hits you in the rough, and the idea of sitting through a greasy plate of Waffle House food just sounds like a bad morning waiting to happen?

The proper course of action includes an order of baba gannoush, flavored with cumin and tahini sauce, putting coals on a hookah of sticky-sweet two apple tobacco, digging into a Mediterranean burger topped with feta, and saving room for perfect, flaky, homemade baklava.

Welcome to Murfreesboro, Tarboosh. What would we do without you?

Now there’s a 24-hour solution to all your Mediterranean food needs, in owner Ramy Faheem’s second Tarboosh venture here in Tennessee, located on Middle Tennessee Boulevard across from Kroger, where Marina’s used to be.

The first thing you’ll notice is that Tarboosh just smells delicious. Patrons have 15 flavors of tobacco to try alone or mix together in decorative hookahs, but the employees only smoke two apple, so it’s a good place to start even though the smoke from the mixed berry might smell more tempting. Two apple tobacco is a blend of apples and anise, a black licorice, and the “original flavor,” according to Faheem.

Since its open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Tarboosh has a fairly good range of prices and portions for any appetite or budget. Your new favorite breakfast might be pancakes with added strawberries for $2.64 and a rich cup of Turkish coffee. Appetizers cost around $4, salads are anywhere from $4 to $7 and burgers are about $6. But the most expensive thing on the menu is a salmon dish for $11.99, and almost all the entrees are under $10.

The bright spot of every entree was the side salad, a tabouli-like dish with scallions, tomatoes, cucumber and just a little bit of sesame seed. It’s fresh and light and goes with everything.

The menu does it’s best to cover the Mediterranean spectrum, and while Egyptian and Greek dishes dominate, they do a little homage to Italian food that smacks of Marina’s ghost despite the foreign touches like a béchamel sauce over penne, and include a few American classics like chicken fingers and a cheese burger to keep the locals happy.

Faheem has big plans for his Murfreesboro Tarboosh, including an expansion, imported Moroccan fabrics, live music and a cushioned patio. For now he’s resting on the laurels of his food, which, luckily, is pretty delicious.

The proof is in the customers. Nick and Christine were there for the second night in a row, and say Tarboosh is their “new favorite hang out,” while a customer of Mediterranean descent, Maral, said I had to try the Mix Grill Plate to get a little bit of everything because it was “all so good.” And it was pretty good; the chicken and lamb were prefect. I’m just more of a medium rare sort of girl where beef’s concerned, which isn’t very Mediterranean of me.

Tarboosh, with its college-friendly hours and very chill atmosphere, does a beautiful job on presentation, putting in little touches that make you feel special to be eating something pretty. My cinnamon tea had a cinnamon stick, the Turkish coffee comes garnished, the baklava was crisscrossed with chocolate and every plate’s rice is a little molded tower in the middle.

Tarboosh is right on track.

THE DISH:

Name: Tarboosh

Address: 1621 Middle Tennessee Blvd., Murfreesboro, TN

Phone: (615) 692-0269

Hours: Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 5 p.m.–2 a.m.

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The Murfreesboro Pulse, Middle Tennessee's Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News. murfreesboropulse@yahoo.com

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