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Peruvian? Israeli? Asian Fusion?

Hello New York Foodies! I have been reading various discussions on this board in preparation for a long weekend in Manhattan. I will be in your fine city next weekend, so am not going to get a table at any of the hard-to-reserve spots. (I have waited too long). I read with interest your suggestions to the chefs visiting from Vancouver, because this is where I also live. And, like them, I am looking for cuisines other than the ones that we do oh-so-well, e.g., sushi, and various regional Chinese.

I am looking for suggestions for dinner. We will be staying in the UWS, and would prefer not to have to trek too, too far. No need for "fancy" and prefer quiet ambience for table talk. Having just returned from Peru, where the food was fantastic, I am wondering whether you can recommend an authentic Peruvian restaurant. Also, I really love Israeli cuisine. . . and anything Asian fusion (Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian). Your suggestions are most welcome!

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  1. Gazala's would probably be a very good bet for a sit down Israeli (Druze) meal, not too expensive or hectic and the food is quite tasty. I have eaten at the Hell's Kitchen location more frequently, but the Columbus one has more ambiance.

    http://www.gazalasplace.com/

    For more of a quick pick up a snack type meal I like Jerusalem on Broadway and 104, but it isn't necessarily worth going very far out of your way for.

    1. I haven't been, and SoHo/NoLiTa would be a real trek from the UWS, but Balaboosta is supposed to be very good Israeli food: http://balaboostanyc.com/

      1. On Peruvian, you have up there Flor de Mayo, which I think is run by a Peruvian-Chinese family, and El Malecon, and both of these specialize in roasted chicken, while Flor de Mayo also does Peruvian style Chinese. They're very casual, almost divey spots, and usually quite busy. Flor de Mayo might have a slight edge in terms of ambience, and people seem to love their fruity cocktails. Chicken is quite good though.

        UPDATE: Friend just corrected me that Malecon is Dominican. Apologies. So the rec would be Flor de Mayo.

        1. Thank you, NY Foodies! Much appreciated. Gazala's looks amazing - and this is definitely on the list. I read the reviews and checked out the menu on Yelp for Flor De Mayo (which has no website yet) - and my only concern is that the ambience seems to be "rushed" - that there is a push to turn the tables quickly. But, perhaps the food makes up for this.

          I also have my eye on some tapas places - Salinas, Txikito and Quinto Pino. All seem to be in Chelsea. Any thoughts you want to share on which of these are the top of your list, would be appreciated. THANKS again!

          MPF (from Vancouver)

          1 Reply
          1. re: MyPurpleFeet

            Quinto pino is more of a bar that also has food if that makes sense.
            I love the place. Maybe start at quinto pino for a drink and snack- early since its tiny- and then move on to dinner. Both salinas and txikito are good choices

          2. Been to Peru and loved the food, but it will be hard to match it here (don't expect roast guinea pig). However, Pio Pio at 94th and Amsterdam has perhaps the best chicken in NYC, their avocado salad is also excellent--and they're very inexpensive for NYC. For tapas in that area, I liked Buceo 95 on 95th btw Bway and Amsterdam (pricier and a little more upsacle than Pio.

            1 Reply
            1. re: GaryUES

              I've never been to Peru but I've eaten my way through Paterson (largest peruvian pop outside of Lima I've been told) and Pio Pio was a huge disappointment and really expensive in comparison IMO. I also like Buceo 95 though. Saw the rec for Warique and will definitely try.

            2. I lived in Israel for a few years, back in the late '80s.

              One place that is somewhat like some places in Israel is Ali Baba on Amsterdam and 84th. Some Yeminite specialties and the "fixings" for the hummus/schwarma is pretty extensive. VERY much hole in the wall. Also, it's kosher, so no Friday night or Saturday meals.

              1. A Peruvian place on the UWS is Warique Peruvian Cuisine

                1. Israeli:

                  Taboon - Modern gourmet israeli, menu created by a top Israeli chef. Great bread specialties. Dont leave town without trying the Silan
                  Taboonette - a Taboon baby, pocket food. No falafel which is strange for pocket food Israeli but everything else is great
                  Taim - great falafel
                  Nish Nush - greater falafel. Was there again today
                  Gazala's Place - I feel like the only one who thinks this but this is the best hummus in the city. The closest to the creamy hummus I had in Israel. Also try the cheese/sun dried tomato bourekas

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ziggy41

                    Nish nush has my favorite hummus.
                    OP- also easy to get to from UWS with an express train on the redline (1/3) to city hall stop.

                  2. How about Sushi Samba-it's Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian fusion run by an Israeli! You'll have all your bases covered.

                    1. Hello NY Foodies. Alas, my very short 4 night stay in this great city is coming to a close. I wanted to circle back to you and tell you what I experienced.

                      Because I was traveling with a few other folks, I felt the need to temper my food focus and go more with the flow. So, as much as I really wanted to try Gazala's I did not. So, for my Israeli fix, we went to Tamboon. Our experience was so-so. The focaccia was great, as was the baba ganoush that we ordered as a side. The mussels were very good - albeit a bit over-the-top with the salt. And the disappointment: the Vegetable grill. Gheesh, for $24 ya would think that they come up with something a bit more interesting than julienned squash, a few mushrooms and a smattering of asparagus and SALT. There was supposed to be some goat cheese in there, but not sure where they hid this. Rather than an entree, this should have been a side dish. As the tables next to me had "real" entrees, I felt very ripped off. When asked by our waiter how things were, I told him I was disappointed, and they comped us a dessert. We had the goat cheese cake - again, rather mediocre.

                      The best part of the meal: the mussels and the Louisa cocktail, but not enough for me to come back nor to recommend this on the Board. I

                      The best meal I had over these 4 nights: Celeste on Amsterdam and 84th(?). The owner seems to be a bit of an operator, and he was trying to move the diners next to me out of the restaurant to turn the table, but other than that, it was a good blend of textures and tastes and ambience.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MyPurpleFeet

                        I used to live around the corner from Celeste. Yup, that's the owner as I remember him.