There's a long, arcade-like feel to the space, reminiscent of real Middle Eastern restaurants, with busy ceiling fans spinning from a drop-lattice ceiling, cushioned benches, big mirrors and a huge TV screening unsubtitled movies. A relaxed, party atmosphere prevails, especially on "Arabic Nights," when the place gyrates with live music and belly dancing.
For visual stimulation at Kan Zaman, look away from the monochromatic faux brick walls and mahogany-stained latticework toward the glorious food on your plate - it's fresh, authentic and reasonably priced. The vegetarian platter includes a feast of Middle Eastern favorites: creamy, tahini-rich hummus, smoky baba ghanoush, lemony rice-stuffed grape leaves, crunchy falafel and tabbouleh, vibrant with parsley and ripe tomatoes. Kafta - lamb and beef with pine nuts, fragrant with cinnamon - makes an appearance on the menu as a sandwich, but can also be ordered as a platter. The only thing we missed is a garnish plate of pickled turnip slices, but on some Friday nights and every Saturday night, belly dancers perform. Seems like more than a fair trade.
Ample, made-to-order portions of Middle Eastern fare entice diners to try something novel. A less-pungent, more-sweet baba ganoush rates high, as does the fresh, heavy-on-the-tahini hummus and a soup of robust lentils and parsley. The shish tawook entree contains three hefty skewers of cubed, marinated chicken, which mix nicely with the accompanying tangy garlic mayo. Slightly sweet, cilantro-laced Khaliya chicken rates ho-hum, but fried kibbee loaves crammed with meat, pine nuts and onions yield an earthy twang, especially when dipped in yogurt. Skip the bland rice pudding and other desserts and opt for the fruity, sweet hookah pipe.
College aged with an upbeat feeling and lots of hookah to choose from.
Kan Zaman's the only place in town offering the "hubble bubble" Arabic smoking water pipe, in strawberry, apple, lemon, caramel, cherry and peach flavors.
When to Go
Catch live music and belly dancing Monday, Wednesday and Friday at dinner, but go back for "Arabic (Saturday) Nights," when locals and curious onlookers party late into the evening.
Use the free, ample back lot instead of unforgiving street meters.