Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Kaslik Mediterranean Cuisine

I first became a fan of Wasem Hamed’s Lebanese cooking in 2012, when he was the chef of Layla in the Grove. I was particularly taken with his mezze, both familiar (hummus, falafel) and not (makdous, a delicious dish of pickled baby eggplants stuffed with spicy walnuts, garlic and olive oil). Hamed left Layla the following year to open Kaslik Mediterranean in a cupboard of a North Lindbergh storefront in Florissant; in 2015, he relocated his restaurant to a larger space just down the street in Hazelwood. After giving him time to acclimate to the new Kaslik, I found Hamed’s cooking more appealing than ever. The mezze alone remain worth a visit, and the grilled meats deliver deeply savory flavors, with lingering hints of garlic, lemon and sumac.

Last year's ranking: New

Opened: 2013

Must order: Makdous ($3.99)