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When it opened in 1990, the family-owned Lebanese Taverna was one of the capital’s few ethnic restaurants. Today, it's just one of many eateries catering to international tastes, but it hasn’t lost its appeal. In an airy dining room with a bar and lounge, wood paneling and hand-laid fieldstone walls, diners enjoy traditional Middle Eastern dishes presented in up-to-date ways. For instance, the hummus bar offers several flavors (traditional, spicy, and garlic), assorted toppings, and four dippers (crackers, vegetables, fries, and pita toasts). Entrees, such as the lamb sharhat (sliced lamb loin with three-herb sauce), and mezze items, from chicken samosa to kibbeh nayeh (made-to-order lamb tartare), continue to draw the locals. All meals begin with fresh-from-the-oven puffs of pita with olive oil. The proper ending is an order of Lebanese doughnuts, honey-drizzled creamy pudding on the side for dipping.