For lunch or an early dinner, try the fantastic lentil soups (with tomatoes or with spinach, $4 per cup, $6.50 per bowl) and one of Mazza’s delicious, lighter meals—each item can be made as a sandwich ($7.50 - $10), a salad ($11.50 - $14.50) or served over rice ($10 - $13). The Morgan Valley Lamb Sausage ($8) is sweet and spicy, while the Cheese and Zaatar (a Mediterranean spice mixture, $7.50) is spicy and satisfying.
If you’re hungry, the house specialties are large servings of exquisitely cooked meat and vegetarian dishes. The Vegetarian Kabseh ($17) is a filling stew of mushrooms and cauliflower, served over delicately spiced rice, with a chicken version ($17) available as well. For a heartier meal, try the Chicken and Potatoes Mutabbak ($18), with slices of fried potatoes arranged around moist, tender chicken breast over moist basmati rice, drizzled with a tangy, sweet tamarind sauce. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for broke with the Lamb Shank ($23), a huge serving of braised meat cooked in an array of ingredients that fairly falls off the bone onto the saffron couscous and herbed green fava beans.
Finish up your meal with an Apricot Cream Turnover ($5), a flaky pastry stuffed with creamy pudding and apricots and doused with orange blossom syrup. Ask for them to hold one for you when you sit down—these go fast, especially at the 15th and 15th location. Or, try the saffron-flavored Kanafeh ($6) pudding, garnished with phyllo shreds and pistachios. The Turkish Coffee ($3) was one disappointment, though. Although the flavor—studded with cardamom—was good, it was served barely warm and did not include the traditional layer of grounds at the bottom.
With so much information on their website and such an extensive and diverse menu, Mazza is a perfect place for a group with varied tastes, and the 9th and 9th location makes a wonderful place for a romantic date.