Restaurant Review: "Dinner With My ACES Peers at Zaytoons" by Arturo Olea ('18)

How difficult could it be to choose a restaurant? It is really hard to choose a restaurant when everyone has a different way of eating, has different food preferences, and, more specifically, has a different culture. Last Thursday, February 18, some students from the ACES program went to Zaytoons, a Middle-Eastern food restaurant, located on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. The group of students who attended was diverse. We had freshman, sophomores, and even rising juniors that decided to attempt this expedition into the unknown.

Zaytoons is a restaurant that offers a diverse menu of delicious Middle-Eastern food. The first thing that I observed at first glance when I entered the restaurant was the decor which truly transported me to another place and culture with its attention to detail; from the lamps to the Arabic writing on the walls, from the ceiling design to the brilliantly glowing candles on the tables. At the same time, it was a peaceful environment to share dinner with Prof. Murtha and the rest of the students. From the beginning until the end we were all well served by one specific waitress taking care of us. The smell of the food was amazing, and the slow music on the speakers gave harmony to our ears. Zaytoons is simply the perfect place for a person who wants to try new food. It was hard to choose from the menu since so much of the food listed was food many of us had never seen or ate before. When we opened the menu, we expected a visual representation in order to see how each plate was supposed to look. Well, it was not like that. However, living in the era of technology it was not hard to go to the browser on our phones and research what each dish would entail.

By 5:30pm we ordered the appetizers. It was not hard: some students ordered garlic bread, and others ordered pita bread with hummus. By 6:00 pm we had finished the appetizers and it was time for the delicious dinner. Just remembering how much time it took us to decide on what to order is incredible and unbelievable, because some of us had even checked the menu before we got to the restaurant. When the waitress asked for our drink order, some ordered delicious hot drinks such as Arabian tea, or coffee. Others ordered cold drinks, like tamarind juice, sodas, and the other students decided to only drink the tap water that the waitress had put on our tables when we got there. When we finally decided on what to order, we chose the pitzas (pizza made on pita bread), and, of course, the Shawarma platter (specifically the chicken one). I believe that they were the favorites because chicken is the kind of meat that matches perfectly with any kind of food. Also, the description of the Shawarma and Pitzas were familiar to us. Of course, dessert at 7:00 pm was everyone’s favorite part. The majority of the students chose the delicious chocolate mousse, which brought the dinner to a sweet ending.

Even though there were some students who did not eat Middle-Eastern food before, they all enjoyed the delicious meal. All in all, I believe that ACES is doing an amazing job, not only in academics, but also in trying to bring their students together. I believe that trips like this one help students to make new friends, and to share their values and cultures. This was the second time that I went on a trip with Prof. Murtha and honestly, both times I met a few students that I never realized were ACES students. This is the reason that I encourage other students to get involved with Prof. Murtha’s awesome trips.