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Jan 24, 2008 03:59 AM

Ilili RW Dinner Review

Two of us went on Tuesday and I have to say I loved it which is not often the case with RW dinners. I also loved Jovia’s RW dinner last winter. The RW menu was huge, 10 apps, 5 entrees and 4 desserts to choose from which is the most from any restaurant I have ever been to, including Danny Meyer restaurants which typically does 5 selections for each course. Portions were generous, selection of 2, yes 2 not 1 of the apps, 1 entree and 1 dessert and we were stuffed with good food and very happy.

Service was very professional, they let us linger as we were catching up and I am a super slow eater. Everything was timed perfectly and I loved what we had. They even brought me a second cranberry/soda when my glass was finished, w/o my asking for it which did not sit well with me when he brought it, however I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was not charged for it which has never happened to me in a restaurant. Soda and iced tea are free refills, but never juice.

Anyway onto the wonderful food. Our 4 apps were: lamb sausage (least favorite); baba ghanouish with warm fresh pita, delicious; crispy calamari with some carrot slaw on the side, excellent; and thinly sliced octopus, absolutely wonderful. Entrees were blackened cod and beef shish kebob and desserts were trio of sorbet (coconut, blackberry, and mango) with diced mangoes and pomengrantes and something they called typical Lebanese dessert with pistachio sauce. I loved everything I had except the lamb sausage. Note if anyone cares, they use pomengrante in many dishes which I love, but others may not.

I will definitely be back. I think the restaurant is fairly new and was empty when we arrived but it was early. On our way out it was about 2/3 full. RW dinner is a wonderful bargain at a nice restaurant with modern and comfortable décor, great food, professional service. I highly recommend the RW menu. Did not really look at the other menu, but will probably go again to give it a try since we were so happy with this meal.

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  1. I was so nervous when I opened up your post, but I'm so delighted to see that you enjoyed your meal! I have RW plans to eat at ilili next week and am now very excited. Thanks!

    1. I just had dinner at ilili last night and thought it was fantastic. I went with a party of four, so we were able to sample a lot of different dishes:

      -Brussel sprouts roasted with fig sauce: the most popular dish of the night! The best brussel sprouts I've ever had, and we liked it so much, we ordered three servings over the course of our dinner
      -Manti, Lebanese pasta stuffed with beef and lamb: nice chewy consistency, rich hearty flavor, one of my favorite dishes of the night
      -Amberjack: thin slices of fresh, perfectly seasoned raw fish
      -Tabbouleh: the fresh mint was a bit too overpowering for me
      -Hommus: creamy but nothing extraordinary
      -Mussels: liked the garlic and pepper sauce, but I'm not a fan of mussels
      -Black cod: soft, flaky fish with interesting pomegranate molasses glaze
      -Duck shawarma: duck was rich and flavorful without being greasy or fatty, really liked this
      -Lamb kebob: meat was cooked and seasoned perfectly, another favorite
      -Pita bread: warm and airy

      For dessert, we tried

      -Achta: traditional Lebanese sweet cheese dessert with a thick consistency, similar to ricotta cheese, flavored with a combination of syrup and spices. I would recommend getting this because it was unique and unlike anything I've ever tasted before
      -Chocolate candy bar: layers of chocolate, was too rich and sweet for me
      -Steamed apricot pudding: very dense, and almost with a savory flavor. I didn't like it as much as I thought I would
      -Sorbet: we had passion fruit, blackberry and coconut and all were light and refreshing, with the fruit flavors really shining through. There were actual chunks of passion fruit in the sorbet, which I liked.

      I also had the Back from Beirut cocktail (light and sweet) and could barely stand up after we finished our meal, but everything was excellent and I would definitely go back!

      3 Replies
      1. re: KiwiGirl625

        Was this from the RW menu? I don't remember some of the items you listed. I love brussel sprouts and would have ordered it if I saw it. Did i miss it since there were so many to choose from?

        1. re: G3B

          No, it was on the regular menu.

          1. re: KiwiGirl625

            Well now I know what to order next time I go when it is not RW and I am looking forward to it, bec. many of the dishes you liked are my favorites.

      2. I'm going tonight and now looking forward to the trip more than before--thanks for your review.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Lucia

          A friend and I went tonight for RW and had a really good meal. There are a lot of options on the menu, which was a nice contrast to most RW meals. To start, we shared: calamari (great); amberjack (fish quality was a little questionable); mussels (very good): and warm eggplant (good). My cod was the winner among entrees. Her branzini was also good, although a little fishy. I had the napoleon w/achta for dessert and she had the ashta. We both left stuffed and happy. It's a great space too.

        2. I am wondering what the atmosphere is like. Casual? Formal?

          1 Reply
          1. Tried to go for dinner tonight without reservations at 9:00 p.m., but it was packed and there was a long wait, so we left. I guess the place is getting discovered. I called at 8:15 p.m. and they said in a bored tone that they could accommodate us -- did not ask for our name, which led me to believe that getting in would be no problem.

            No biggie when we went at 9:00 p.m. and they could not take us - it was 45 minutes later and things could have easily changed. But I must say that both on the phone and in person they were snotty with major attitude. No thanks. The place definitely seemed trendy, which often seems to go with a lack of graciousness.

            1 Reply
            1. re: omotosando

              I, too, have heard the same thing about the service at ilili.