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Moombar - Egyptian on Steinway @25 Ave

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We are going to a function at Moombar so we are captives. How's the food? Is there anything special I should try? My wife and I don't know a thing about Southern Egyptian food so please help!

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      Aaron Seeskin

      If you search these posts under "Mombar", you will find lots of chat on this place.

      I don't live far from Mombar, and have eaten there about half a dozen times in its history (i.e., before it even had a name). When Mostapha (the chef, owner, sometimes waiter) is on, the food is incredible; when he misses, the food is still pretty good.

      If I may make a number of suggestions:

      (1) Service is a major problem, so don't arive hungry on a Fri/Sat night. You will wait, you will not be served anything while you wait, and you will have to listen to very contented eaters while your stomach churns and growls. The last time I went, it took fifteen minutes to get water. I'm not saying it's not worth the wait, just be prepared.

      (2) Be bold and get a bottle of Algerian wine. You will be surprised at how drinkable (unelss it's corked, in which case don't hesitate to send it back) and how cheap it is.

      (3) Without a doubt, go with the specials. (His salmon with za'atar was perhaps the finest salmon I have ever had anywhere.) Ask him what is best! He will not lie!

      (4) Of the uniquely Egyptian dishes, be sure to try the bessara. You can't get it this good in Egypt, believe me, I tried.

      (5) Go with the veggies in season. The last time I was there, I had warm artichoke salad, so perfectly seasoned, so perfectly balanced with beets and pear, that, I swear, I almost cried. He has done similar things with tomatoes in their time.

      (As an aside, I just took a look at Mombar's Zagat ratings. 25/24/24 puts it in the top tier of restaurants in the entire city. You can expect this place to be overwhelmed quite soon; I just hope Mostapha can survive the onslaught!)