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No more smokey baba gounoush at Sahadi's!

Jim Leff May 21, 2007 08:54 PM

I finally managed to get to Sahadi before their 7pm closing time....and guess what? In spite of what I keep posting, they haven't stocked the smokey prepackaged baba gounoush from Laila Restaurant in over four years.

The deal is this: Laila's chef/owner, Elias, closed the place four years ago, and stopped supplying the baba. The manager of Sahadi's is sad about this...says lots of customers ask about it, but so far he's been unsuccessful in persuading Elias to keep making the stuff. It doesn't sound like his hope is completely dead, though.

So I currently know nowhere to find really soulful, really smokey baba gounoush.

Woe = Me

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  1. driggs RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 04:37 AM

    Down the street at waterfall (near henry) or at Fatoosh (at hicks)
    They are just as good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: driggs
      Larry Brooks RE: driggs May 22, 2007 07:03 AM

      Sorry, driggs.

      I have had all 3. Waterfall is barely smokey. Fatoosh would be the closest. But truly...neither compare to Lailas.

      1. re: Larry Brooks
        driggs RE: Larry Brooks May 22, 2007 07:42 AM

        Waterfall has gonedownhill (or downsmokey). Still, I would think anything more smokey than Fatoosh would be like eating an old campfire....

    2. jason carey RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 07:07 AM

      I noticed some interesting looking baba at Damascus Bakery next door,
      Maybe that is smokey, I know exactly what you are talking about. Why don't you contact Laila, and get the recipe, or ask Sahadi to get the recipe and make it there?

      8 Replies
      1. re: jason carey
        gnosh RE: jason carey May 22, 2007 07:55 AM

        I just tried the Damascus baba and it is smokey and less homogenized than Sahadi's. I think it's reallygood. Can't say how it compares to Laila's. They also occasionally have an excellent muhammara (a dip made from red peppers and nuts), but not always. The owner told my husband that the person who makes it is always traveling or somerthing like that, and so they don't get it all the time.

        1. re: gnosh
          Jim Leff RE: gnosh May 22, 2007 08:05 AM

          Good tip, I'll try it. I always liked Damascus' sesame pita (lots of sesames...toasts very well).

          Jason, Laila restaurant is closed.

          1. re: Jim Leff
            jason carey RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 09:12 AM

            Right, but If they used to deal with the folks from there , they might still have contact information, could ask for recipe..ect.

            1. re: Jim Leff
              Old Spice RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 10:54 AM

              Damascus' sesame pita is the pita gold standard for me. Great stuff.

              1. re: Jim Leff
                Woodside Al RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 11:30 AM

                Are you talking about Laila's in Park Slope, or some other Laila restaurant? The one in the Slope is most certainly still open, at least it was as of yesterday when I walked by the place. In my view it has gone dramatically downhill in the last few years, but it appears to be still limping along somehow (do they own the building?).

                1. re: Woodside Al
                  Jim Leff RE: Woodside Al May 22, 2007 03:36 PM

                  I may have gotten the story wrong....Elias (former chef/owner) isn't there anymore, and he's not making baba for Sahadi.

                  1. re: Jim Leff
                    missmasala RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 06:43 PM

                    I never bought the baba at sahadi's but back in the 80s and early 90s i used to go to laila's just for the mezze plate with the baba and the labne. that was a thing of beauy!

                    alas, i too heard it went downhill and have not been back in years.

                  2. re: Woodside Al
                    pastoralia RE: Woodside Al May 23, 2007 09:20 AM

                    Yeah, what is the deal with Laila's on Seventh Ave? No is ever in there but still it exists. The food is pretty decent though. And I think their baba is smokey.

            2. p
              Produce Addict RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 09:53 AM

              Well at least I'm not crazy! As I posted on another thread, I looked for that baba last year and couldnt figure out why i never saw it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Produce Addict
                Jim Leff RE: Produce Addict May 22, 2007 10:00 AM

                Yeah, sorry 'bout that, Produce Addict. That's why I posted this thread....to inform folks like you who were following my outdated advice....

                1. re: Jim Leff
                  dimples RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 04:01 PM

                  Have you tried Oriental Grocery across the street?

              2. efdee RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 01:52 PM

                Never tasted Laila's so maybe I don't know what smoky baba ganoush tastes like but I really like the stuff they make at Sahadi and sell at the take-out counter -- especially with Damascus' sesame pita.

                1. m
                  Mike R. RE: Jim Leff May 22, 2007 06:40 PM

                  You're heading south to Bay Ridge...KARAM on 4th Avenue & 86th Street may be your best bet...has always been a "satisfying smoke"...and pair it up with a heavily-perfumed zaatar bread.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mike R.
                    Jim Leff RE: Mike R. May 22, 2007 08:59 PM

                    Great place...I raved about it in my first book. Even better, nearby, is Mazza Plaza (8002 Fifth ave). But neither makes the sort of baba gounoush I'm talking about, alas...

                  2. s
                    seb RE: Jim Leff May 23, 2007 12:44 PM

                    Another fan of Damascus' smokey baba here. I didn't even know it was smokey the 1st time I bought it, but once I tasted it, no other baba will do. Haven't had Laila's though. Enjoy!

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