Finding a good late-night dinner is a lot trickier on Sunday than on Saturday. Many of the good places are closed entirely, and others shut their doors early. We had a very late brunch (more on that later), so we didn't start feeling hungry until after 8. Pete's University Park Cafe is always good in a pinch, but I poked around on Westword.com and saw a listing for Damascus on South Colorado Boulevard. Supposedly open until 11. It's been ages since I ate there, so we headed over.
Damascus is in a strip mall that also includes a couple of hookah bars, a Middle Eastern market and House of Kebab. The latter was completely empty, as was Damascus when we walked in. But the waitress was welcoming. When I balked at the corner table right under the speaker, she said, "Oh, I listen to that music all day and I'm sick of it. I'll turn it off!"
The decor is ordinary at table level, but the rugs on the ceiling make it cozy, and there are posters of Syria on the walls. (And, inexplicably, a mural of what looks like a Mongolian horseman. Maybe a remnant of a previous tenant? Unless there's something about Syrians I don't know.)
As it turned out, the place closes at 10, or earlier if no one shows up, so we had to get our order in quickly. I asked if the lamb kebab or lamb shank would be better. "Definitely the lamb shank! It's Ramadan, so they're doing it extra special. It's very, very good."
So that's what we got, both of us, and she was not kidding. This lamb was falling off the bone, it was so tender. I ended up picking up mine with my fingers to pull off every last morsel. And then I cleaned the Sergeant's, too.
With the meal was a basket of pitas so fresh and hot they were tricky to handle at first, and plates of really good hummus, and a lovely fresh salad with yoghurt dressing. And the rice under the lamb was delectable with sauce.
For dessert we had kanafah (knafeh, konafa, kataifi, etc.), a custardy dessert that was delicious warmed up, and not as tooth-achingly sweet as baclava. I didn't take a photo, so I grabbed this one from another restaurant site. (In looking for a photo, I also found that strictly speaking, kanafah refers to the thread-like filo dough that is used to make this dessert. It is made by drizzling the dough onto a rotating giant hotplate. The resulting filaments look like shredded wheat.)
I had to loosen my belt for the drive home. But my wallet didn't feel pinched at all: $30 for the two entrees, the dessert and two Cokes. If you like lamb, especially, give Damascus a try.
(The link is to their menu; they don't have a website)
2276 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80222