Archive for January, 2010

Il Punto

January 31, 2010

punto-logo 507 9th Ave 212-244-0088

http://www.ilpuntoristorante.com/

_____________________________________________________________ By Nancy Walman DSC_0099 RED SNAPPER FILET IN PARCHMENT PAPER As Presented at Il Punto Il Punto is a very high-end Italian restaurant on a very "happening" strip of Ninth Avenue at West 38th Street. Owned by Tony Pecora who has many businesses in the city, the executive chef is Michaela Orsini. Orsini is one of the most versatile Italian chefs in New York. He makes everything in-house from the puffy focaccia to his glorious desserts for which he is known. punto-apt2 Tuna Crudo with Ginger-Mustard Sauce The name means “destination" and a destination it should be. You might walk by the unassuming facade, but in good weather, the restaurant’s French doors open to sidewalk dining. Inside await three cozy, attractive rooms with terracotta floors, a burgundy color scheme and walls flanked with wine racks and hung with colorful pictures. The rooms are cleverly separated by silk-strands of curtains and the lighting is warm and inviting. Start with an excellent house cocktail or cool glass of wine at the welcoming bar with its large urn of flowers guarding one end and a Sicilian wine cart guarding the other. Food is authentically Italian. Many of the ingredients are imported from Italy. But what’s unique about this amazing ristorante is the chef’s range of culinary execution .

Orsini may have a strong presence in the restaurant, but you’ll know his heart is in the kitchen when he dazzles you with three versions of the incredibly delicious Crudo (the Italian version of Sashimi}: Tuna with Ginger-Mustard Sauce, Raw Baby Squid with Frisse and Lemon Dressing and the star, Sliced Baby Octopus with Roasted Peppers and Marinated Eggplant. Setting the tone with such a trendy beginning, chef Orsini then bows to a staple of Italian home cooking: SPONGY AND TENDER STRIPS OF HONEY COMB TRIPE, simmered in CARROTS, CELERY, ROSEMARY, SAGE, ONION, DICED TOMATO AND FRESH GREEN PEAS, a dish so pure that only a gentle sprinkling of Peperoncini (Italian peppers) is needed to bring you as close to Italian-heaven as you’ll get in a Manhattan Italian restaurant. DSC_0064 Pasta Perfect

Of course, what’s an Italian restaurant without pasta. You won’t be disappointed with TIMBALLO, LAYERS OF WIDE RIBBONS PASTA, BECHAMEL SAUCE, MEAT RAGU, AND PARMIGIANO REGGIANO. A sort of fancy Lasagna, our table couldn’t get enough. Also marvelous, with one caveat (request it to the right of al dente, ours was a tad undercooked), PACCHERI AL SUGO DI GUANCIALE or LARGE RIGATONI WITH BEEF CHEEKS, FRESH GROUND TOMATOE AND SPICES was better than any pasta we sampled at many venues that received accolades from the media. There are other unusual pasta options including two we didn’t sample: CONCHIGLIE CON CAVOLFIORI, GAMBERI E BROCCOLI, TINY PASTA SHELLS, CAULIFLOWER, RED ONION, GARLIC, CAPERS, ANCHOVIES, OLIVES, SHRIMP AND BROCCOLI and SPAGHETTI AL PEPERONCINO E PESTO DI CARCIOFI, RED SPAGHETTI WITH ARTICHOKE OLIVE PESTO .

Italian restaurants to us mean antipasti, pasta or risotto, entree and cheese and/or dessert, so you can’t miss such main courses as the much abused POLLO ASSUT ASSUT: CHICKEN PIECES ON THE BONE SAUTEED WITH GARLIC, ROSEMARY, LEMON JUICE AND A SPLASH OF WHITE WINE. Normally dubbed Chicken Scarpiello (perhaps he was the brother-in-law of Sr. Rossini), and prepared incorrectly (off the bone and bludgeoned with sauce), chef Orsini gets it right.

His LOMBATINA AL VINCOTTO or GILLED TENDER RIB VEAL CHOP, RED WINE REDUCTION, DRIZZELED WITH VINCOTTO, SPINKLED BLACK TRUFFLES, MASHED POTATOES AND SPINACH is elegant, while ORGANIC FED TURKEY OSSOBUCO, BRAISED IN FRESH TOMATOES, WHITE WINE AND HERBS SERVED WITH OLIVE LEAF SHAPED PASTA is a deliciously healthy alternative.

Seafood lovers will enjoy both DENTICE AL CARTOCCIO, RED SNAPPER FILET IN PARCHMENT PAPER WITH FRESH HERBS, SNOW PEAS, ZUCCHINI, ROSEMARY, MUSHROOMS AND CHERRY TOMATOES and DSC_0139 CIOPPINO, a creation whose roots lie closer to San Francisco than Italy, but is fresh and delicious just the same with its mélange of RED SNAPPER, STRIPED BASS, MONK FISH,SHRIMPS, MUSSELS, CLAMS, SCALLOPS AND CALAMARI IN AN AROMATIC FISH BROTH.

Finish with the best Tiramisu in town, each layer distinct and light, an outstanding Tartufo Gelato, Italian Cheese cake with strawberries culis, the luscious Miniature Cannolis or the fabulous home-made ice creams. Service is guiding and solicitous and the wine list is user-friendly and well priced.with inexpensive carafes countered by such winners as Cerreto’s sprightly Albarino (priced in the mid-$40s). Don’t expect an empty restaurant. Il Punto, has a loyal local clientele peppered with knowledgeable out-of-towners,in search of a good deal near the theater and Madison Square Garden.(There is a “$30+” Pre and Post Theater Dinner Menu.) Il Punto also happens to be one of Manhattan’s most gratifying Italian restaurants! DSC_0052 The Succulent Veal Chop

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.

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AL BUSTAN REVIVED FOR 2010

January 31, 2010

Al Bustan

319 East 53rd Street (Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)

New York, NY 10022;

212-759-5933

Hours: Lunch & Dinnere 7 Days a Week

http://www.albustanny.com/

By Nancy Walman

Popular Lebanese Main Stay Takes Up New Residence in Bigger and Brighter Location

For roughly 20 years, the name Al Bustan went hand in hand with authentic Lebanese food and warm Lebanese hospitality to anyone living in or passing through New York City. With a quaint location on 3rd Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets,

Al Bustan became THE place to find the most elegant Lebanese cuisine. While the original closed last December it was due to Owner and Executive Chef Elias Ghafary wanting to expand his brand into an even larger and more beautiful space. Thankfully for neighbors who have grown accustomed to their presence in the area, Ghafary found a gorgeous two-level space nearby and has reestablished the Al Bustan name back into Manhattan’s culinary landscape. The restaurant recently softly opened to neighbors and passer bys and has now proudly reopened just in time for 2010.  After serving a limited menu without a liquor license during the holidays, they are now open to the public 7 days a week for lunch and dinner and as luck would have it, the license came in just in time to allow them to officially open the first week of the new year.

The clean inviting space is undeniably attractive with its THREE gorgeous fireplaces. With the temperatures continuing to fall and the wind continuing to whirl, perhaps it’s a good time to explore some of the restaurants around town that offer a cozy and warm solution to this nasty winter weather.  One fireplace is in the lounge so diners can quickly warm up as they come in from the cold and the other two are located in the dining room so you can eat your Lebanese fare fireside (is there any better way? )

Gant wood ceiling beams, brick walls of red, white and stucco, pillars coverd in white organdy, lit internally, three chandaliers, one massive one leading down to a party room.  Shibny hard wood floors, spacxious witgh white clocths,.

Whippe of aleppo: karabig halab

 

wine Ksara 2006 ($36), Bordeaux blend.

 

Turenips, julienned, marined  48 hours in in vinegar, salt, garlic  & beet juice.

Ghafary has been with Al Bustan since the beginning and can actually take credit for introducing New York City to high end Lebanese food a couple of decades ago.  With a pedigree from France and having been #1 in his class at the Culinary School of Beirut, Ghafary is an expert on this bountiful cuisine and loves inviting people in to his “home” every night for some traditional Lebanese food such as Mouhamara, walnut, red pepper, garlic, chili pepper and pomegranate molasses; Tabbouleh, parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat; and Moussakaa, eggplant simmered with tomato, garlic, onion and olive oil, as well as some unique dishes he has brought to this new location including Kibbeh Lakteen bill Saniya, baked pumpkin and cracked wheat stuffed with spinach and chickpea; Zaatar Salad, fresh wild oregano, onion, lemon juice and olive oil; and Kibbeh Samak Nayeh, tuna tartare blended with jalapeno and onion.

Other outstanding offerings include Labmeh,  Foul Medamas, as well as elegant entrees such as Halibut.

Heralded as the most popular of all the Middle Eastern cuisines, Lebanese fare traditionally consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry, seafood and lamb, the essential flat pita bread that also substitutes as a fork in this culture, and an array of Mediterranean elements such as garlic, lemon, olive oil, cilantro, tomato sauce, among others. This is reflected throughout the menu at Al Bustan in main dishes such as Ghafary’s favorite Samak Tajine, a whole baked fish, usually Red Snapper, topped with a lightly spiced tahini sauce and pine nuts; Kibbeh Lakteen bill Saniyah, baked pumpkin and cracked wheat stuffed with spinach and chickpea; and Habra Nayeh, a lamb filet tartare with spices and garlic paste. Some truly unusual dishes served here include Zaatar Salad, with wild fresh oregano, onion, lemon juice and olive oil; Silek Mahshi, Swiss chard leaves stuffed with rice, tomato, chickpea and lemon; and Chankleesh, spicy cheese, onion and tomato. An assortment of traditional small plates, or Mezze, include Baba Ghannoui, smoked eggplant blended with tahini; Mouhammara, a puree of walnut, red pepper, garlic, cucumber and pomegranate molasses; Tabbouleh, parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat; Sujuk, sautéed spicy beef sausages; or Arayess bil Jibneh, toasted pita filled with halloumi cheese.

Aromatic non-alcoholic drinks are a perfect way to start off any meal and will add tranquility to your experience. The Tamarind is a simple concoction of Tamarind syrup and water, while the Jellab is a perfumed drink scented by rose water, incense, carib molasses and floated with pine nuts. The wine list consists mainly of bottles from France, Spain and of course Lebanon, home to the first Middle Eastern winery, Ksara, which was built in 1857.

While Lebanese cuisine had made successful crossovers to cities including London and Paris, it wasn’t until Ghafary came to the US in 1988 and established himself as a restaurateur that this city finally came to know what true refined Lebanese cuisine meant. For this reincarnation Ghafary, the original owner and founder, has carried over some of the original staff such as Chef de Cuisine Refaat Husseini, and has teamed up with new team members including partner, Norman Hobeika, a long stand small business owner who has launched several Lebanese fast food restaurant across the Tri-State area, and part owner Paul Hobeika.

 

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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AL BUSTAN

January 23, 2010

al-bustan-int1 

Technorati Tags: ,,

Photo credit: al Bustans

Al Bustan

319 East 53rd Street (Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)

New York, NY 10022;

212-759-5933

Hours: Lunch & Dinner 7 Days a Week

http://www.albustanny.com/

 

                  ________________________

By Nancy Walman

Popular Lebanese Main Stay Takes Up New Residence in Bigger and Brighter Location

Al Bustan means "The Orchard" in Arabic and for roughly 20 years, the name Al Bustan went hand in hand with authentic Lebanese food and warm Lebanese hospitality to anyone living in or passing through New York City. With a quaint location on 3rd Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets,

Al Bustan became THE place to find the most elegant Lebanese cuisine. While the original closed last December it was due to Owner and Executive Chef Elias Ghafary wanting to expand his brand into an even larger and more beautiful space.

Thankfully for neighbors who have grown accustomed to their presence in the area, Ghafary found a gorgeous two-level space nearby and has reestablished the Al Bustan name back into Manhattan’s culinary landscape.

The clean inviting space is undeniably attractive with its THREE gorgeous fireplaces. With the temperatures continuing to fall and the wind continuing to whirl, perhaps it’s a good time to explore some of the restaurants around town that offer a cozy and warm solution to this nasty winter weather.  One fireplace is in the lounge so diners can quickly warm up as they come in from the cold and the other two are located in  the dining room so you can eat your Lebanese fare fireside at spacious tables, covered with sparkling white cloths,.

Giant wood ceiling beams, brick walls of red, white and stucco and pillars covered in white organdy (lit internally) add to the romantic setting, with its three chandeliers (one massive one leading down to a party room)  and shiny hard wood-floors.

al-bustan-int2

The Elegant Main Dining Room. Photo credit: al Bustans

Aromatic non-alcoholic drinks are a perfect way to start off any meal and will add tranquility to your experience. The Tamarind is a simple concoction of Tamarind syrup and water, while the Jellab is a perfumed drink scented by rose water, incense, carob molasses and floated with pine nuts. The wine list consists mainly of bottles from France, Spain and of course Lebanon, home to the first Middle Eastern winery, Ksara, which was built in 1857 (the red, a Bordeaux blend, is a delight at just $35 the bottle). There is also a full bar offering generous cocktails, poured in lovely glassware.

The stars of any Lebanese restaurant , Meze, wonderful hot and cold appetizers, designed to be shared, including smoky whipped eggplant or chickpeas, divine stuffed grape-leafs,  a choice of three tartars, including lamb with pine nuts and light as air falafel, elevated to new levels, and far from the street food you may have sampled  in lesser kitchens. Four people can order a choice of 18 of these luscious treats, and yummy Lebanese desserts (even the ubiquitous baklava is exceptional) for about $45 a person.

Before ordering, take note of the delicious house-made turnips, coarsely-julienned, marinated  48 hours in in vinegar, salt, garlic and beet juice, which imparts a lovely pink color.

al-bustan-food1

The Mouth watering Meze  Photo Credit Zandy Mangold

Ghafary has been with Al Bustan since the beginning and can actually take credit for introducing New York City to high end Lebanese food a couple of decades ago.  With a pedigree from France and having been #1 in his class at the Culinary School of Beirut, Ghafary is an expert on this bountiful cuisine and loves inviting people in to his “home” every night for some traditional Lebanese food such as Mouhamara, walnut, red pepper, garlic, chili pepper and pomegranate molasses (a personal favorite); Tabbouleh, parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat; and Moussakaa, eggplant simmered with tomato, garlic, onion and olive oil, as well as some unique dishes he has brought to this new location including Kibbeh Lakteen bill Saniya, baked pumpkin and cracked wheat stuffed with spinach and chickpea; Zaatar Salad, fresh wild oregano, onion, lemon juice and olive oil; and an updated take: Kibbeh Samak Nayeh, tuna tartare blended with jalapeno and onion.

Other outstanding offerings include classic Lamb Shawarma (paper thin slices of grilled lamb) to grilled Kafta. LabmehFoul Medamas, as well as elegant entrees such as Halibut.

__________________________________________________________________

al-bustan-food2 
Photo Credit Zandy Mangold

While Lebanese cuisine had made successful crossovers to cities including London and Paris, it wasn’t until Ghafary came to the US in 1988 and established himself as a restaurateur that this city finally came to know what true refined Lebanese cuisine meant. Service is not only efficient, but benevolent.

For a welcome change from the more familiar French or Italian cuisine, Al Bustan is a lovely restaurant and in the up-market Lebanese league, as good as it gets.

 

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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Grand Central Oyster Bar/Restaurant

January 23, 2010

Oyster Bar Interior 3

Grand Central Oyster Bar Grand Central Terminal
89 E. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10017

Phone: (212) 490-6650
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Saturday: 12:00pm – 9:30pm
Payment Options:
AMEX, Carte Blanche, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa
Executive Chef: Sandy Ingber
General Manager Jonathan Young

Dress Code: Casual Dress

A New York landmark with Guastivino tiled vaulted ceilings, two dining rooms, an oyster bar and counter seating. The Oyster Bar has 450 seats for you to choose from.
Dining Style: Casual Dining
Cuisine: Seafood
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Cross Street: Vanderbilt and Lexington
Menu: View menu on restaurant’s website & After This Review
Price: $31 to $50
Website: http://www.oysterbarny.com

Make a Reservation On Open Table
_________________________________________________________

New York’s Grand Dame Of Seafood Restaurants

Review By Nancy WalmanOyster Bar Interior 1

 

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. The Grand Central Oyster bar recently celebrated its 95th Anniversary. It Serves over 1,300 patrons daily, eating about 1.8 million shellfish a year. 240 gallons of Manhattan and New England clam chowder prepared daily. The restaurant has rented the 27,00 sq. foot space from the MTA since 1913. The Old World interior with its “Guastavino” tile, lining the vaulted ceiling, retains some stained glass windows.

Oyster Bar Interior 2

There’s a formidable wine list & seafood shines. There are always wonderful seasonal specials like herring, bay scallops and the freshest fish anywhere. And oh those oysters: Ask your waiter to recommend a selection of varieties. Wonderful plates of smoked fish will be returning. For now, The vast menu offers an array of creative and traditional great starters and the signature pan roast is still a minor miracle. Look for specials. Chef Sandy Ingber has a deft hand and all cooking techniques, whether grilling, steaming, poaching or frying are executed skillfully. The French fries may be the best in town. Bay Scallops were sweet as sugar and a better Black Cod would be difficult to find.

Service is friendly and accommodating and don’t skip the rich, cold and gooey desserts (fabulous rice pudding) at The Grand Central Oyster Bar/Restaurant, Lexington Ave. & Vanderbilt Place. That’s a Manhattan Must on The Walman Report. For a free subscription to The Walman Report, visit www dot Punchin dot com on the net.

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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Asian Bistro

January 22, 2010

A TRULY GRAND OPENING!
OPENED OCTOBER 2008 AND ALREADY NAMED IN THE TOP 100
CHINESE RESTAURANTS IN THE USA!

There are over 40,000 Chinese restaurants in the United States, so being in the Top
100 is no easy feat, especially for a restaurant only open since October 2008. The win
gives the restaurant even more reason to celebrate at it’s Grand Opening event on
Thursday, January 29, 2009.
The moment you enter Asian Bistro, at 70 7th Ave, between 14th and 15th Streets, you
start to understand why they have been crowned one of the best in the country. The
sleek, minimal, natural interior gives the impression of a fresh, tradiNonal Asian fusion
restaurant with a modern twist.
The menu offers just that, with over 100 Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes, from
Chinese tradiNonal dishes like general Tso’s to modern Long Jin Tea Shrimp. There are
Japanese dishes such as the freshest sushi you’ll find in the city and flavor packed Thai
dishes such as the delicious spicy mango, Red Curry. Asian Bistro has something to
please every imaginable taste for Asian cuisine.
High class rules here, with food presentaNon rivaling some of the high-end restaurants
of New York. However, true to it’s name, this bistro style restaurant delivers all this at
an affordable price.
The man behind one of the most successful restaurant openings in New York, owner
Wilson Lee, was born in the Fujian province of China and came to the USA 30 years
ago. A\er living in and running a restaurant in Washington DC, the father of three now
calls Bergen County, NJ home.
Lee was the owner of ‘Fast Wok’, which had been in the same 70 7th Ave locaNon.
Despite the success of this restaurant, Lee recognized the trends and made the brave
decision to give customers what they were asking for, a more upscale restaurant with a
diverse menu. The change has proven a huge success.
On Thursday January 29, 2009, Asian Bistro will host a grand opening event with a lot
to celebrate – a new restaurant, an award and the Chinese New Year. Lee and Asian
Bistro are a shining example and beacon of hope for what storeowners can sNll achieve
In the face of the tough economic Nmes
Please find a@ached with this press release a special invitaIon to the Asian Bistro Grand Opening event. You are
invited to a special lunch or dinner menu tasIng session where you can try the award-winning cuisine and judge
for yourself.
For more informaIon on:
– Asian Bistro, please contact James Maule @ mogul fish at james@mogulfish.com or on 646 335 2079
– The Top 100 Chinese Restaurant Award, please visit www.top100chineserestaurants.com
– For high resoluIon images approved for publicaIon, please download from
www.serengeI.safarisundays.com User: abistro Pass: mfish
Owner Wilson Lee had barely opened the doors at his new Chelsea restaurant when he was asked to fly to Las Vegas
to accept his award on January 5th as one of the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA in 2008.

AL BUSTAN

January 20, 2010

al-bustan-int1 

interior shots photo credit: al Bustans

Al Bustan

319 East 53rd Street (Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)

New York, NY 10022;

212-759-5933

Hours: Lunch & Dinnere 7 Days a Week

http://www.albustanny.com/

 

                  Orchids To Al Bustan

By Nancy Walman

Popular Lebanese Main Stay Takes Up New Residence in Bigger and Brighter Location

For roughly 20 years, the name Al Bustan went hand in hand with authentic Lebanese food and warm Lebanese hospitality to anyone living in or passing through New York City. With a quaint location on 3rd Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets,

Al Bustan became THE place to find the most elegant Lebanese cuisine. While the original closed last December it was due to Owner and Executive Chef Elias Ghafary wanting to expand his brand into an even larger and more beautiful space. Thankfully for neighbors who have grown accustomed to their presence in the area, Ghafary found a gorgeous two-level space nearby and has reestablished the Al Bustan name back into Manhattan’s culinary landscape. The restaurant recently softly opened to neighbors and passer bys and has now proudly reopened just in time for 2010.  After serving a limited menu without a liquor license during the holidays, they are now open to the public 7 days a week for lunch and dinner and as luck would have it, the license came in just in time to allow them to officially open the first week of the new year.

The clean inviting space is undeniably attractive with its THREE gorgeous fireplaces. With the temperatures continuing to fall and the wind continuing to whirl, perhaps it’s a good time to explore some of the restaurants around town that offer a cozy and warm solution to this nasty winter weather.  One fireplace is in the lounge so diners can quickly warm up as they come in from the cold and the other two are located in the dining room so you can eat your Lebanese fare fireside (is there any better way? )

Gant wood ceiling beams, brick walls of red, white and stucco, pillars coverd in white organdy, lit internally, three chandaliers, one massive one leading down to a party room.  Shibny hard wood floors, spacxious witgh white clocths,.al-bustan-int2

interior shots photo credit: al Bustans

al-bustan-food1

Photo Credit Zandy Mangold (food shots)

Whippe of aleppo: karabig halab

 

wine Ksara 2006 ($36), Bordeaux blend.

 

Turenips, julienned, marined  48 hours in in vinegar, salt, garlic  & beet juice.

__________________________________________________________________

(RADIO VERSION)

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. For roughly 20 years, the name Al Bustan (OWL boo-STAN) went hand in hand with authentic Lebanese food and warm Lebanese hospitality. Now, in its spacious and elegant new location, with its crystal chandeliers and working fireplaces, it is better than ever. And thanks to Owner and Executive Chef Elias (ah-LEE-us), service is some of the most solicitous in town. Although there is a full bar and generous cocktails, try the milk, licorice flavored Arak (R-ack) with the stars of any Lebanese restaurant , Meza (MESS-ah), wonderful hot and cold appetizers, designed to be shared, including smoky whipped eggplant or chickpeas, divine stuffed grape-leafs, lamb tartar with pine nuts light as air falafel (fa-LAH-ful). Four people can order a choice of 18 of these luscious treats, and yummy Lebanese desserts for about $45 person. Try the terrific Lebanese wine, Kssara, for $35 and you’ll agree: In the Lebanese league, Al Bustan, 319 East 53rd Street (Between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) is a s good as it gets. For a free subscription to “The Walman Report,” visit www dot Punchin dot com on the net. (Please Spell Out) That’s p.u.n.c.h.i.n dot com.

al-bustan-food2

Photo Credit Zandy Mangold (food shots)

Ghafary has been with Al Bustan since the beginning and can actually take credit for introducing New York City to high end Lebanese food a couple of decades ago.  With a pedigree from France and having been #1 in his class at the Culinary School of Beirut, Ghafary is an expert on this bountiful cuisine and loves inviting people in to his “home” every night for some traditional Lebanese food such as Mouhamara, walnut, red pepper, garlic, chili pepper and pomegranate molasses; Tabbouleh, parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat; and Moussakaa, eggplant simmered with tomato, garlic, onion and olive oil, as well as some unique dishes he has brought to this new location including Kibbeh Lakteen bill Saniya, baked pumpkin and cracked wheat stuffed with spinach and chickpea; Zaatar Salad, fresh wild oregano, onion, lemon juice and olive oil; and Kibbeh Samak Nayeh, tuna tartare blended with jalapeno and onion.

Other outstanding offerings include Labmeh,  Foul Medamas, as well as elegant entrees such as Halibut.

Heralded as the most popular of all the Middle Eastern cuisines, Lebanese fare traditionally consists of fresh vegetables and fruits, poultry, seafood and lamb, the essential flat pita bread that also substitutes as a fork in this culture, and an array of Mediterranean elements such as garlic, lemon, olive oil, cilantro, tomato sauce, among others. This is reflected throughout the menu at Al Bustan in main dishes such as Ghafary’s favorite Samak Tajine, a whole baked fish, usually Red Snapper, topped with a lightly spiced tahini sauce and pine nuts; Kibbeh Lakteen bill Saniyah, baked pumpkin and cracked wheat stuffed with spinach and chickpea; and Habra Nayeh, a lamb filet tartare with spices and garlic paste. Some truly unusual dishes served here include Zaatar Salad, with wild fresh oregano, onion, lemon juice and olive oil; Silek Mahshi, Swiss chard leaves stuffed with rice, tomato, chickpea and lemon; and Chankleesh, spicy cheese, onion and tomato. An assortment of traditional small plates, or Mezze, include Baba Ghannoui, smoked eggplant blended with tahini; Mouhammara, a puree of walnut, red pepper, garlic, cucumber and pomegranate molasses; Tabbouleh, parsley, tomato, onion and cracked wheat; Sujuk, sautéed spicy beef sausages; or Arayess bil Jibneh, toasted pita filled with halloumi cheese.

Aromatic non-alcoholic drinks are a perfect way to start off any meal and will add tranquility to your experience. The Tamarind is a simple concoction of Tamarind syrup and water, while the Jellab is a perfumed drink scented by rose water, incense, carib molasses and floated with pine nuts. The wine list consists mainly of bottles from France, Spain and of course Lebanon, home to the first Middle Eastern winery, Ksara, which was built in 1857.

While Lebanese cuisine had made successful crossovers to cities including London and Paris, it wasn’t until Ghafary came to the US in 1988 and established himself as a restaurateur that this city finally came to know what true refined Lebanese cuisine meant. For this reincarnation Ghafary, the original owner and founder, has carried over some of the original staff such as Chef de Cuisine Refaat Husseini, and has teamed up with new team members including partner, Norman Hobeika, a long stand small business owner who has launched several Lebanese fast food restaurant across the Tri-State area, and part owner Paul Hobeika.

 

Copyright 2010 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

Disclosure

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Dhaba

January 17, 2010

dhaba-logo

Dhaba Bar 2

Opened: October 2008

 

Location: 108 Lexington Avenue (Btwn 27th Street & 28th Street)

Telephone: (212) 679-1284

Website: www.highwaydhaba.com

Email: Shiva@fineindiandining.com

Cuisine: Indian cuisine

Owner/Executive Chef: Shiva Natarajan

Manager: Roshan Balan

Price Range: Buffet Lunch: $9.95

Lunch & Dinner

Appetizers – $2.00 to $11.00

Entrees – $13.00 to $21.00

Late Night Menu: $10.00 to $15.00

Capacity: 60

Opening Hours: Lunch Monday thru Friday: 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM

Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Dinner:Monday thru Friday: 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Saturday & Sunday: 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Dhaba After Hours: Friday & Saturday: 11:00 PM to 2:00 AM

 

*All Major Credit Cards Accepted (Visa, American Express, Discover, MasterCard) *

 

_____________________________________________________

Review By Nancy Walman

Dhaba-inside

 

Traditionally in India, “dhabas” are restaurants that are located on the outskirts of metros in northern India and are widely reputed to serve authentic local food. More recently, “dhabas” are becoming more popular, emerging in cosmopolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai, bringing their brand of authentic, flavorful food to elite city gourmands. Shiva Natarajan’s newest restaurant endeavor, Dhaba, conveys the same authenticity and delight with every bite. The menu mostly consists of customary specialties of northern India as well as curries with a British influence.

Enclosed in the Curry Hill neighborhood of Lexington Avenue, Dhaba, designed by Thida Thong Thai, is the modern interpretation of a traditional dhaba in India. Low lamps hang discreetly within the restaurant resembling the street lamps covering these traditional Indian eateries. The emblematic earthy greens, natural beiges and dark brown silks combined with magenta and orange accents add a luxurious tone to the dining room. A large communal banquet table in the center keeps with the characteristic dhaba homage. The colorful glass tunnel entrance, decorative spice bottles and steel bar with vibrant colored glass bangles are an unexpected surprise that adds a touch of modern flair while still in tune with its traditional presence.

Menu items include traditional “dhaba” staples such as Sarson ka Saag and Makki da Roti as well as a wide array of Punjabi dishes and Northern Kabobs. Specialty Dishes include Chicken Balchao, a hot curry from Goa with coconut, curry leaves and freshly ground spices, Sarson ka Saag, Curried mustard greens and spinach, Makkai ki Rotii, Home made corn bread, served with the Sarson ka Saag, Lauki Masala, white bottle gourd with lentils and a bay leaf, Methi Mattar Malai, Paneer cheese with green peas, fenugreek, served in a creamy tomato sauce and Shrimp Malaiwala, a delicious spiced shrimp with creamy tomatoes, bay leaf, and fennel.

Dhaba includes a unique list of British influenced curries on their main menu which is rarely offered at Indian restaurants in New York City. A late night menu is also available on Friday and Saturday.

Restaurateur and chef, Shiva Natarajan, is a veteran to the East Coast gourmet industry having opened seven highly regarded restaurants; Chola and Tadka in New York City, Chola, Malabar Hill and Bombay Bar & Grill in Connecticut, Jaipore Royal Indian Cuisine in Brewster New York and Bombay at the Black Swan Inn in Lee, Massachusetts.

Born and raised in Calcuta, Shiva fell in love with the art of cuisine by spending countless hours in the kitchen with his family, developing what would become his life-long passion for food. Following his high school education in Bombay, he left India to pursue his MBA at Pace University in New York City. After spending years traveling throughout India, experiencing many different cuisine styles of his native country, Shiva transported his expertise of Indian cuisine to the restaurant industry of New York City.

For a taste of what authentic Indian cuisine is all about, coupled with the feel of the “new” India, Dhaba will surely delight you.

Dhaba bar

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.

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