I just want to lead off by thanking the folks at the Lebanese Taverna in Tysons Corner who once again demonstrated how helpful and accommodating they can be to a parent of a child with food allergies.
The other night I was craving chicken shawarma. Craaaavvvvvving it! I looked up several recipes online, but each one contained tahini. For those of you that are not familiar, tahini is sesame paste – something to which my son is very allergic. This seemed strange to me. We’ve eaten at Lebanese Taverna in the DC-area many times and their chicken shawarma was always safe for my son. I kept checking different sites for an alternative, but continued to run into tahini to complete the task.
“Just call the restaurant!” my mother urged. She was being relentless with this advice. What restaurant would willingly give away their “secret sauce” – especially over the phone?! It seemed crazy! Despite my better instincts and, in part to appease my mother who would undoubtedly call back in 10 minutes, I called Lebanese Taverna. I explained that my son was severely allergic to sesame seeds, could safely eat their chicken shawarma and asked if they would be willing to tell me what ingredients to look for in a compatible recipe online.
After a few minutes on hold, the manager came on the phone – I assumed to tell me that it would be impossible to share their recipe. Instead, he warmly greeted me and reiterated my son’s allergy, confirming that he understood the problem. The manager then asked me to grab a pen and began walking me through the exact way they prepare this delicious dish, step-by-step.
I have always had a great experience navigating my son’s allergies at Lebanese Taverna. The managers are available, careful and knowledgeable about their dishes as are the waitstaff. They are very willing to customize their menu to suit my son’s diet and are friendly and helpful while doing so.
And, Mom, thanks for the great suggestion! You were right – as usual!