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Ilili Recommendations?

Going for a work team dinner tomorrow night with 5 other people & the boss is paying (hooray!).

I know the brussels sprouts are supposed to be great. What else?

I'm adventurous but not everybody else may be. At least one person is a rabid carnivore. And one person has a shellfish allergy but I don't think it'll be an issue.

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  1. Hommus is good but the portion is tiny. You will need to order several for a large group. I really like the falafel. Unusual shape in they come as squares. Get the Phoenician Fries. The octopus is ok, but I actually like the lamb pastrami that comes with it better. They should serve that on its own. Kibbeh and Lahmajeen are nothing exciting but they would be safe for picky eaters. Duck shawarma is really good. Meat dishes I found to be fine but nothing I crave. If the boss is paying and you have a carnivore, get the mixed grill platter as there is a bit of everything. I thought the brussel sprouts were a little too over the top. The just seemed gloppy to me with all the stuff they pile on.

    1. If you wish to be nice and give me a Xmas present, I'd appreciate a quick review afterwards. As it turns out, I'm meeting a bunch of old college friends there for dinner on Sat. and have no clue about the place. Many thanks in advance.

      1. Highly recommend the brussel sprouts but you've already read about them. They have a nice smokiness, slight bitterness and saltiness, sweetness of fig jam and grapes, crunch of walnuts and sourness from the yogurt and herbaceous freshness of mint.

        The duck shawarma is excellent. Make sure you specify because they make large and small sizes. The smaller size is better for sharing but I prefer the larger size. Pairs really nicely with the garlic whip.

        Get the garlic whip, I like to mix it with the baba ganoush.

        The manti are excellent and not to be missed.

        The octopus is pretty good, really enjoy the lamb belly.

        The falafel are ok, but a little dry for me. The square shape and crunch appeals to people though and they're very tasty wrapped in pita with some of their labne or garlic whip.

        I haven't had anything at Ilili that's bad but I've liked the starters better than the actual mains. The chicken is prepared well, moist and flavorful. The lamb chops are prepared medium rare and well executed. The fishes have been moist and delicious. After multiple meals, not a single dish has been bad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pookipichu

          Those brussels sprouts are the tastiest brussels sprouts I've ever eaten.

        2. The kibbeh nayeh and shanklish are among my favorite starters, but portioned small. I would recommend rounding it out with an order of the mekanek, chicken livers or duck shawarma. The mekanek would be a treat for the carnivore; I don't see them often on menus in New York whether in Manhattan or in the Middle Eastern neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

          For mains, everyone goes for kebab, but don't overlook the fish. Lamb chops are also a nice balance of flavors.

          1. I can't believe Kathryn asked for recommendations. =)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Monica

              Ha! My DH isn't a huge fan of Middle Eastern so we don't eat it that often.