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Feb 17, 2007 10:27 AM

The Family Store Bay Ridge

I read about this place on Chowhound ages ago and finally made it there! It is definitely worth a stop. The tabouli is wonderful, and I have a hard time finding tabouli I like. Its mostly parsley, so doesn't get too watery from the tomatoes (a pet peeve of mine), with tiny pieces of cracked wheat and nice and lemony. My husband loved it too. I wish I had bought more!

Also got what they called moussaka but was really more of an eggplant/meat casserole, made with ground sirloin and lovely seasoning. No dairy or potatoes, but sliced almonds and pine nuts, which added nice flavor and texture. This dish was very aromatic, with cinnamon, cloves and I think maybe some cardamom in there. Really delicious. If you are in the neighborhood, run over and get some.

The lentil and rice pilaf with caramelized onions is really outstanding too.

AND last but not least, I really enjoyed the pickled turnips.

Can't wait to go back and try more!

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  1. It's our favorite place. We get there every couple of weeks. The owner makes killer dinner entrees, different every day. My wife and I still talk about a creamy lobster lasagna he made about a year ago, and his wonderful lamb shanks.

    In addition to the usual items (hummus, baba, tabouli), be sure to get the orange-red walnut mix (mouhamara?), which is dynamite.

    If they have it (in the front window), get the onion naan, which has more flavor than the pita.

    1. Thankfully, my boyfriend introduced me to the Family Store about a year ago. The food is amazing. Specifically the crab cakes are hands down the absolute best crab cakes I have ever had. I'm humming just thinking about them! Sam always says hello and knows us by name. There's no replacement for that!

      1. where is this little gem? is it a restaurant or a store?

        4 Replies
        1. re: wallywalnuts

          It's on Third Ave. between Ovington and Bay Ridge Ave. It's so good, and the owners are incredibly nice. I get things for lunch from there pretty often- also, their halva is great.

          1. re: libraryhound

            sounds great. my dad lives on colonial rd and 72nd. we always go to tanoreen when we visit. definitely going to check this place out too. thanks!

            1. re: col8118

              Forget Tanoreen they don't even come close to the Family Store. All the food at Tanoreen tastes the same to me. Take it from me I am a chef, too much spice and too much lemon. At the Family store every dish they make is unique and the flavors shine through on many levels. Thier attention to quality ingredients is evident and I for one greatly appreciate thier.diligence in maintaining that quality. I see the Owner Sam frequently at the crack of dawn scouring the markets for the freshest veggies he can find. These people work hard. They don't cut corners or take shortcuts all the food they serve is made from scratch I highly reccomend the Family Store to anyone who wants 4 star quality in take out

              1. re: Babsy

                I agree completely. They have beeen making excellent, well seasoned food at the Family Store for a long time. I have never had anything that wasn't absolutely delicious. The Owners are friendly and very helpful.
                It must be really great for me to put up with the horrendous parking situation that exists in Bay Ridge . :-}

        2. Have you tried the shrimp and crabmeat lasagna? It is FABULOUS! (Yes, I am screaming and jumping up and down.) You can special order it to be sure Sam has it. It's difficult to single out one food better than another at The Family Store. Everything is finely cooked with close attention to fresh and creative ingredients. Lately, I had the roasted beet salad (of course, the best I've ever had), macaroni and cheese - superb, grilled portobello mushroom salad - ummm. Just walk into the store and you will start salivating. The desserts are dangerous. My mother, who doesn't like take out food, will only eat from "Sam's". She raves about his pork chop.

          9 Replies
          1. re: shayne

            The beet salad is amazing- each time I have had it ( from the same container), I have detected a different taste- first time I thought that it was horseradish, the next something sweet like cranberries.
            My only issue is that I tend to spend a lot of money and come away with small containers of food. I gladly do it because the quality is so good, but somehow I can't shake the feeling.

            1. re: carfreeinla

              Like all 'good stuff', once the word gets out, the prices go up :-}
              I used to work in the neighborhood. It was really just a little grocery store with bins of rice, nuts and only a couple of homemade things, like spinach and cheese pies, maybe a dessert. As more people of Middle Eastern descent moved into the neighborhood, they started to expand their offerings. Word of mouth soon did the rest..I know what you mean about the amount spent for the amount of food received. Great stuff, but no longer priced in keeping with the modest surroundings.

              1. re: Tay

                Has anyone used them for catering? We want Middle Eastern food, which they obviously do, but it seems that everyone raves about their non Middle eastern items. How is their traditional stuff? Also, if anyone has used them for catering, how were they to work with and how were they priced?

                1. re: jdf

                  I don't know if they do traditional platter catering. I've special ordered trays of certain foods that they make, like hummus, tabouli, cheese, meat and spinach pies, string beans in tomato sauce, stuffed grape leaves both meat and veggie, but I've always picked up the order and it wasn't done up "party style"
                  I think most people in Bay Ridge cater from Sally and George's


                  1. re: Tay


                    We actually spoke to Sam a month or so back and he said he'd create a traditional Lebanese menu for an party we're having and would send us a sample menu/pricing etc. Unfortunately, despite repeated phone calls on our part and assurances he had sent us the menu, we never got it. So, we'll probably follow up in person to get more information. But, wanted to see if its worth it based on others who have done catering there. We also looked at sally and George's, as you mentioned. What have you heard/experienced about catering from them?

                    1. re: jdf

                      I infact just used them to cater a small party of 12 people last weekend. Here are the details of my experiences and the food:

                      - My party was on a Saturday, and I went to the store (based on the reviews I read on Chowhound) on Wednesday to smaple their items, and also place an order if I liked what I saw/sampled. I reached a little after 7:00PM and Sam usually leaves the store at 7:00PM. I told the lady who was at the counter that I wanted to place an order for catering, and she called Sam for me, and Sam came right back to the store to discuss my order.
                      -I told Sam I wanted a complete Middle Eastern menu, and he recommeded the leg of lamb and the saffron rice to me for the main course, and the meat/spinach pies, hummus, baba etc as the appetizers. I told him I also wanted another dish, and he recommended the shrimp to me, but after pricing the menu out, I removed the shrimp as the shrimp was expensive ($3 per shrimp!!). For dessert, I tasted the Middle Eastern cheese cake (not sure what its called) and it completely blew me away, so I ordered a tray of that.
                      -Sam was very understanding in pricing and proportions as I told him what my budget was and he worked with me to price the menu out. My budget was 150-200, and 200 is what I ended up paying.
                      - He even gave me a free Minerva sandwich that night as I wanted to order something for dinner as well that night.
                      - On the day of the party, I reached the store at about 6:15PM and my order was hot and ready to go. His wife, Barbara, was at the store and she had her son help me load the car. How sweet was that!
                      - The food was a big hit with the crowd!!!! Everyone absoultely loved the appetizers and the spinach pies appeared to be the biggest hit! (I wish I had ordered more, as unfortunately I didn't get to taste them). The leg of lamb was also well received and well eaten :), and the saffron rice was very flavorful and tasty. unfortunately, we didnt even get to dessert as there were a couple of birthdays too and people were stuffed with the cakes only (I ordered the Brooklyn Blackout Cake from the Little Cupcake bakeshop in bay ridge - yummmmmmmmmmm)

                      So, all in all, my experience with The Family Store, in terms of food and service, was wonderful and they totally lived up to my expectations. I would however recommend that you personally go there instead of trying to decide your menu on the phone.

                      Hope this helps!!

                      1. re: jdf

                        As you can see by reading fatema's excellent posting, and carfreeinla's, they do traditional catering. I just think you will do better ordering in person. They will also let you taste varoius things if you're not sure what you want to order. Just a word of caution, as carfreeinla pionted out in his/her postings, it can get pricey very quickly. I mean their food is good, but $3 per shrimp???
                        If I want shrimp, I buy them at Costco already set up with lemon and cocktail sauce. They are always excellent... But that's for a different thread... :-}
                        As I mentioned prevoiusly, I always start off with tabouli,stuffed grape leaves hummus,baba, an assortment of spinach, cheese, meat and whatever other kinds of 'pies' they may have..For a main, I save a bunch of money and usually order a tray of moussaka or pastitisio (sp?) from a Greek restaurant. Different cuisine, but it works well. I also serve a feta. red onion and tomato salad . I have yet to find a Bay Ridge bakery I like, so my dessert is from the wickedly sinful Mother Mousse Bakery, though In the summer, we usually opt for something lighter
                        As for Sally and George's... I have had many different dishes dating back to before they opened their restaurant. Their food is consistently good, though I prefer The Family Store's lighter touch when it comes to seasonings. My friends prefer S&G's for the more intense seasonings... You might want to have a meal at S&G's before you decide. Whatever you do, DO NOT tell either place that your budget is from$------ to$ -----.
                        Without a doubt, they will make sure you hit the upper limit whether you need to or not. Nothing personal. They're just savvy business owners :-}.
                        If you do cater a gathering, please let us know how it went,
                        The good, bad and ugly :-}

                        1. re: Tay

                          Good advice. The party won't be until May, and we will definitely report back. We actually did go in person to the Family Store, but they were about to close. He told us we would be able to taste before ordering, which was nice. the only thing that was to be done outside of the store, was that he promised to send us a proposed menu to look at first, which we never got. No big deal, becuae we have until May, but will go back to the store at an earlier hour so he can work with us. We also plan on going to S and G for dinner one night to test it out. We met with George to talk preliminarily about a menu. He too, was very nice. Think prices can add up to. appetizers are $40 for a larger tray and $25, for a smaller, I think. Trays seemed decent sized, but not huge. If anyone else has opinions/suggestions, or even a place we're missing that we should consider, let me know. I'll report back once we make some progress.

                    2. re: jdf

                      I know that they do a lot of catering- I have been in many times and they are working on large orders. I do not have any personal experience, but I would try them. See my note above re pricing!

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