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Mar 21, 2009 03:07 PM

Lebanese/Middle Eastern UWS?

Looking for a casual place to have a falafel , hummus & salads for lunch.
70-80-90's on the west side?
John K.

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  1. Alibaba is a Yemenite place that's super authentic but overpriced - everything, including the Cokes, seems to be imported. Not open on the Sabbath either. Worth going to at least once.

    1. Sido has 2 UWS locations and its Lebanese, I think. I like their food generally.

      1. Hummus Place on Amsterdam near 74th!

        1. IMO, the best bet for hummus, if you like Israeli style, is the Hummus Place in the 70s, as rteplow suggested. The hummus is very smooth and always freshly made. They have falafel and salad on the menu, too, but I've never tried.

          Maoz has an outpost in the lower 70s on B'way. Maoz serves great falafel (at this location, at least, it's freshly fried, moist on the inside, crispy on the outside), you get to pick from a long list of condiments, including more unconventional options like mango curry sauce, as well as more traditional offerings like cucumber with dill, tomato. Hummus is run of the mill.

          There's the relatively new Halal Cart (actually not a cart, but a truck) on 86th and B'way. The menu lists falafel and possibly hummus and tabouleh. (I'll check next time I walk by, if you're interested.) I have not actually tried it.

          Finally, though I suspect this won't fit your definition of casual because of the prices (and we could debate at length about whether Turkey is Middle Eastern), I should mention that Zeytin does serve great salads (including grilled eggplant salad, shepherd's salad) and good falafel and hummus. I get annoyed with their slow service at times, but they have been very gracious about me coming in, in my sweaty running clothes after a run in Central Park. Casual dress, potentially non-casual pricing.

          10 Replies
          1. re: cimui


            Hummus Place
            305 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

            2047 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: cimui

              Thanks for the recs all.
              Headed over to Hummus Place today.

            2. re: cimui

              The last time I went to Kefi, it was packed and Zeytin was almost empty. I like Zeytin and I'm seriously concerned that the competition from similar but by no means identical food at Kefi will cause them to go out of business, especially in this economy. Are you similarly concerned?

              1. re: Pan

                Hmm... in truth, I find Kefi much, much better than Zeytin. Also, I don't know the owners of Zeytin and it doesn't really feel like a mom & pop type of establishment, so there isn't quite the same kind of personal, emotional hook for me. That said, I dislike losing decent dining options under any circumstance.

                1. re: cimui

                  I also prefer Kefi, so I'm part of the problem for Zeytin, too.

              2. re: cimui


                Do you know what hours the truck is there? I am a big fan of the lamb and rice at 53rd and 6th but it's an ordeal to get there and then wait half an hour. If anyone else has tried this truck please let me know your thoughts. Thanks..

                1. re: hesse23

                  Hi Hesse, I promise I'll check the hours tomorrow or the next day and report back! I've seen them there are lunch time and again at 9 or 10 p.m., so they do seem to be operating for long stretches. That said, I walked by over the weekend and noticed that the truck was NOT there. Possibly they were gone for Nowruz? Will sleuth.

                  -- Gumshoe

                  1. re: cimui

                    Hesse, again no big, white truck, but there was a cart peddling essentially all the same stuff (falafel, gyro, chicken / lamb and rice plates) just east of where the truck used to be on the southeastern corner of 86th and B'way. I asked the fellow who was cooking about hours. He said that the cart was there from 10:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. (Hopefully it's not him the entire time...)

                    If you or anyone else tries the food before I do, please do report back!

                    1. re: cimui

                      Cimui, Thanks for the update. I will try it sometime this week. I crave the famous cart on 53rd and 6th but never have the time to go there and wait. Thanks again.

                      1. re: hesse23

                        hi hesse23, i tried chicken rice at the 96th st. cart last night. the quality of the meat wasn't bad and it was nicely, if very heavily, seasoned with pepper and other spices. it was more coarsely chopped than many carts do it in midtown. the rice was *not* good. it was a good texture (not too hard or soft), but tasted weirdly of plastic or kerosene. i ended up picking out the chicken from the rice to avoid the strange, unpleasant taste. hopefully the plastic/kerosene rice was just a one-off thing.

                        white sauce was more mayonnaise than yogurt and i prefer the latter, but this is obviously a personal preference. i asked for "only a little white sauce and no hot sauce", the guy nodded, and then poured on astronomical amounts of each!

                        sizes are generous -- more generous than most midtown locations -- and they really pile on the meat. both chicken / rice and lamb / rice platters are $5. combo platters are $5.50.

                        the folks who work the cart are really nice, but speak slowly and clearly or you may have trouble communicating.

              3. i'd love if NYC had a serious, specifically Lebanese restaurant...authentic Lebanese food is amazing...

                someone posted today wondering about Al Bustan, where i've never been (yet had always been curious about) and which maybe has closed/moved/reopened?...

                but as for the UWS, i'm not optimistic...given that there is not even a passable Chinese restaurant in the entire West 70-80-90's, i won't hold my breath...