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Feb 25, 2008 06:29 AM

First Oasis, Syrian in Bay Ridge

First Oasis
9218 4th Ave

Easy access from the R train. Sit at the back of the train and exit the north stairs. The restaurant is 1/2 block north on 4th Avenue.

After reading Sietsema's review, I decided to make the trek. For me, it was a schlep, since I live in Rego Park, but I can honestly say that this was well worth the 1.5 hour R Train ride. Everything about this place was fabulous. The raw kibbeh (Minced raw lean lamb w/cracked wheat, onion & spices topped w/olive oil) was delicious. The humus was also wonderful, as was the pita bread served with it.

For the main course, I had the lamb ouzi (pieces of lamb mixed w/vegetables, rice, raisins & nuts baked in phyllo dough served w/cucumber yogurt salad). This was one of the most delicious meals I have ever had. My SO had the vegetable ouzi and she raved about it as well.

I had a cup of Syrian coffee for dessert. This coffee is slightly sweetened, a thick consistency and was absolutely wonderful.

The space was bright, clean and modern. The owner is a delightful fellow named Said who told me that he used to have a restaurant with the same menu in the Village but that the rents got too high.

This restaurant is definitely on my list and, despite the trek, I will return.

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  1. Did he mention the name of his restaurant in the village? I grew up in the village and used to go to a restaurant called Magic Carpet with my family when I was a kid. I remember the food being excellent (in particular the vegetable ouzi) but the restaurant has since closed.

    2 Replies
    1. re:

      If he mentioned the name, I forgot. I'm pretty sure he said it was on the corner of Bleecker and Carmine.

      1. re: myclawyer

        I looked it up and, sure enough, it is the same! I am definitely going to have to check this place out. Thanks for the tip and review.

    2. We went there tonight. Everything was fantastic -- we had veggie couscous, spinach pie, shrimp, and the lamb ouzi. Flavors were subtle and delicious. The atmosphere and service was friendly. Prices were reasonable. Highly recommended.

      1. I have not been to this restaurant, but based on all the glowing reviews, I'll have to try it. There are numerous Middle Eastern restaurants in the area. They are pretty much all accessible via the "R" train. Has anyone on this thread eaten at Sally & George's Restaurant and if so, would they find First Oasis as good or better? I've had some very good meals at Sally and Georges and it's not qute as far out as First Oasis
        BTW: I don't know if it would help, but taking the "N" train to 59th St and then switching to the "R" might speed up the trip.
        For those of who drive, be forewarned that parking throughout Bay Ridge is a nightmare. On a weekend it's close to impossible.Allow an hour wiat for good weather and wear comfortable shoes :-}

        5 Replies
        1. re: Tay

          Its been a few years since I have been to Sally and George - I thought it was good but that the food was rather bland and not very interesting Tastier food at Karam and Mazza Plaza. Liked Tanoreen better though that was also not thrilling. Still to try Oasis, Family Place or Damascus Gate.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Thanks for the information. I too like both Karam and Mazza Plaza
            If the family Place is the same as the Family Store on 69th and 3rd, I'd have to say, everything I've had from there has been delicious. I have to put my purchases in the trunk or I'll be tempted to do the eating while driving, thing on the way home, A bad habit I have yet to control when I purchase Spartan chicken on pita bread from The Spartan Cafe.
            Just too delicious to wait! :-}

            1. re: jen kalb

              I am over Karam. Shame cause it is on my way home. Last few times the chicken has been really dry. T

            2. re: Tay

              For me both Sally and George and First Oasis are not on the level of Tanoreen. I find Sally and george pretty bland and First Oasis is a pretty good place but Tanoreen is the only one of the 3 that I would travel for. The spices eggplant and lamb are all phenomenal!

            3. Thanks for this post. I've been so depressed for the last...10 minutes or so...since finding out Damascus Gate closed and I never tried it! I looked up the menu and unfortunately while it all sounds good, the only thing I'd probably travel for is the ouzi. No fatteh? No kunafe? And why don't any Syrian restaurants in New York make baba ghanouj in the same style it's made in Syria? Oh well...I will probably be trying to get that ouzi in the next few days so I don't let this one slip by me too!

              However, if anyone knows of any places that focus on more Syrian specialities as Damascus Gate was purported to, please do let me know! I'm dying for a place that serves cherry kebabs...