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Jul 21, 2009 10:09 AM

middle eastern/pakistani recs pls...client dinner, help!

i am taking a client and a couple others to dinner somewhere,.. he is from pakistan, i'd hoped to find a top notch middle eastern spot, with great ambience. thanks for any and all suggestions!

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  1. I think ilili would fill the bill. Very good contemporary Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine served in a huge, soaring space with grand decor.

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Yum, RGR, I have to put that on my list. I was going to suggest Persepolis, but decided against it, because it has been forever since I have been there, and really don't know how it is currently, or if the ambiance is what is necessary for the occasion.

      1. re: RGR

        I would second this and the prices are high enough to impress your clients, if you're going for that.

      2. thots on tabla? i am going to check both the recs,.. thanks for the posts!

        4 Replies
        1. re: nyc305

          Tabla's nice (perhaps showing a bit of age), but not middle eastern. The space isn't as impressive as ilili, which should really give you that client "wow" factor (note that I haven't eaten there, but I've seen it from the outside and it's quite beautiful). If the Tabla question suggests you may also be considering Indian, I'd do Devi over Tabla.

          1. re: nyc305

            I didn't think of recommending Tabla because it is neither Middle Eastern nor Pakistani. It is Indian-influenced New American. The cuisine is superb, service is first-rate -- no surprise since at Danny Meyer restaurants, hospitality is key -- and the space has very colorful, attractive decor and a view of Madison Square Park across the street. If you are willing to go in that direction re: the cuisine, I actually think it's a better choice than ilili.


            1. re: RGR

              What have you particularly enjoyed at Tabla lately? I'm with you on the service, and maybe I now just take the decor for granted after all these years, but on the food end my last several meals there have been "pleasant" and no more...

              1. re: planetjess

                Actually, we have only been to Tabla once, a few months ago, and left asking ourselves why we had waited so long. We had the tasting menu which was, from first bite to last, superb! A wonderful range of textures and subtle flavors. I guess we'll have to go back to see if the food will be as delicious as it was that first time.

                ETA: Prior to that, we had been to the Bread Bar a couple of times. The food there is much more Indian in nature. I think it's o.k., but nothing special.

          2. Ilili would be the perfect choice. Lebanese food is well-appreciated among Pakistanis and ilili will make your meal halal given a couple days advanced notice.

            Were you to go for South Asian food, I would recommend against Tabla. I have yet to meet a single Desi who likes their food. Devi is the only Indian restaurant I can think of as special enough to justify taking a visitor from South Asia out for Indian food. Typical Pakistani favorites like paya, haleem or nihari are better done in Pakistan or outside New York in general.