Undoubtedly the most contemporary Mediterranean restaurant that I’ve been to in NYC.  Great food and great service and classy presentations; but who charges you extra for pita bread at a Mediterranean or a Middle Eastern restaurant?  I mean it’s not a small cafe that it should or it would.  Nor is it a McDonalds whose profit margins depend upon it.  Thoughts?

S&R and the husband and I spent a chatty evening here.  As usual, I was the only one to arrive on time here and waited for almost 20 minutes before these three showed up.  While I waited in a nice little nooky corner inside (since the bar had no seat available), I read about chef Nunez and regretted having missed Gastroarte but was glad to have discovered Melibea within a month of its opening.

It was a casual conversation with R happily and proudly making sure S had learnt his vegetables names in Engilsh, Hindi and Telugu right :)

More conversations followed about their furniture shopping (they recently got married and R got here only a month ago).  And then we progressed to Jagjit Singh and about organizing a ghazal session at home.

We hurriedly wrapped up with our desserts since R&Z came by to say hi.

Stuffed Mozzarella ***.5
with confit tomatoes and fresh herbs

Hummus ***.5
with beets and crisps

Ricotta ***.5
with preserved lemon, thyme, oregano, vinegar with evvo.

The focaccia was alright, but the pita bread was well cooked yet amazingly soft.20130505-224011.jpg

Fried cauliflower ****.5
with raisins and spicy mayo, this was the star of the evening for me. Subtly great tastes and crisply fried cauliflower with a thin layer of the batter (not sure what it was).

Falafel salad ****
This so called salad came with almonds, raisins, spinach, labneh and tahini. It was more of falafels presented with style and less of salad, but that did not mar the flavours at all. It was different from the usual falafels in that it was 10 times more flavoured (it had the Indian-kick to it), the batter for the falafel was more finely pasted than the otherwise grainy falafels and it had whole chickpeas (a piece or two) in each one.

Brussel sprouts ***
with lemon and pimenton weren’t what we expected, esepcially at a Mediterranean place, but it was different. The pimenton added a nice kick to it, and the sprouts were leaved out instead of being served whole or in halves. This was more like a salad, different and interesting to us, nevertheless.

Babaghanoush ****
I liked it a lot and asked R to taste it, explaining that it was a nice dish and she would not be able to tell the eggplant in it. I could not gauge based on her reaction if she liked it or not :)

Matbucha ****
A little sweet, this dish oozed flavours too, with the pepper standing out, yet being a part of the dip, alongwith tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. Now this was supposed to show up with a challah which I don’t think I saw on my table.

Chocolatissimo ****
This was a very rich and dense expression of cake and mousse. Chocolate lovers, this is an absolute get. The dry fruits & nuts crisp went so well with it.

One thousand and one nights **
This one didn’t charm us enough. The icecream was too cold. Ice-cream is supposed to be cold, du-uh! you’d say. Yes, but a perfect icecream would not inconvenience your teeth greatly. This one did. The olive oil seem pretty ordinary. I didn’t end up tasting all the different goodies in the dessert after my first cold bite. That being said, the visual appeal of the dessert was superb.

I’ll call it between Eat & Devour! ***.5


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