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Feb 15, 2014 11:59 AM

Anyone been to Taboon recently?

Hi, I'll be visiting NYC with my daughter at the end of March. We'll be seeing a couple of shows and it seems reasonable to try to not go too far afield for dinners. We're thinking Marseille, probably brunch at Toloache and then I'm still on a fence about dinner the other night. I've invited along my step sister and cousin, one of whom tries to keep vegetarian. They both live in the city but don't get out to nice dinners often so getting to see them is a pleasure for us and a treat for them. We've been to Craftbar (eh) and Lupa (very much thumbs up). In keeping with the staying close to Times Square idea (and yes, I realize this is probably ridiculous) I thought maybe Taboon might be the place that would work for all - sounds like good, interesting food that would work well for a vegetarian and be tasty for all. Any thoughts? Other suggestions? I'd prefer not to spend *too* much money but I do want a nice meal (so within the Craftbar/Lupa range would be great). Thanks in advance.

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  1. When i last went to taboon i loved the avocado labneh salad and we shared the various dips with their excellent pita.
    Fellow CHer ziggy just wrote this up on his blog:

    Nearby is also Gazala's Place, not as polished an atmosphere, but a bit less expensive and more vegetarian options- i've always enjoyed it. Be sure to get the date cookies for dessert.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ttrockwood

      Thanks so much Ttrockwood. Since I only get to see my sister and cousin about every 8 months to a year I like it to be someplace with a nice atmosphere. We like to sit over a couple of bottles of wine and really make a night of it. I appreciate the input.

      I started doing research a little outside the area I had been looking at before, and came across El Quinto Pino. Any thoughts on that? Again, many thanks for any information you can give me.

      1. re: LulusMom

        Oh, i lovelovelove el quinto pino! That's just a tiny mostly wine bar with a few small snacks, (the fried chickpeas are awesome!)i haven't yet eaten at the new next door "el comedor" but have enjoyed my meals at the owners other restaurant

        If you can't get a res at el comedor about a block away is txikito, also great spanish and popular here on CH:

        1. re: Ttrockwood

          I immediately got excited about el comedor, but they don't seem to have their own website. Makes it hard to know how veg friendly it will be. Thanks for telling me that el quinto pino is small with just a few snacks - somehow I hadn't really gotten that looking at their site (my bad - probably too much wine). Will check out txikito. Thank you so much.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Here's the menu for el comedor:

            there are definately some great veg options (assuming eggs and cheese are ok). I would start with a drink and the fried chickpeas at el quinto pino and then dinner at txikito or el comedor

    2. went last year in the summer and thought the restaurant was so overrated. Not in a great neighborhood. Nothings nearby and borinnnnnnng. You could do much better.

      9 Replies
      1. re: brisman

        OK, thanks. Important to know. Any suggestions? Again, would be great to stay not too far from Times Square (I know, I know, and am willing to go elsewhere if convinced), have great food, comfortable enough for sitting over a couple of bottles of wine, and not out of this world expensive but still very nice (sort of straddling the line - I'm thinking dinner for 4 no more than about $300-$350 - one of us too young to drink).

        1. re: LulusMom

          Check out Andanada. It's at 69th and Broadway, so not terribly far from Times Square. They have several vegetarian tapas, and a vegetarian paella. I haven't had any of those dishes, but everything we've had has been delicious, the seafood and meat paellas, fluke, squid ink meatballs, scorpion fish flan, and rice pudding. They have a very good list of Spanish wines (we've had La Casilla 2008 several times, a good deal at $42). Nice atmosphere, excellent service and not too loud. It's usually available on Savored, so you can get 20% off. When reserving, specify that you want the dining room, as they may try to seat you at a high table with stools in the bar area, and that is not conducive to a comfortable dinner.

          1. re: rrems

            Hello rrems! Pleasant to hear from you - you've led me to wonderful places all over the world (Wales and Toulouse come immediately to mind). Andanada looks very very good. Is it the kind of place where 3 grown up women and woman in a 7 year old's body will feel comfortable hanging out? They won't mind us lingering over the wine, etc?

              1. re: thegforceny

                Funnily enough I had that on my original list, but nixed it because it looked like it would be too small and cafe-ish for a leisurely, special sort of dinner. Did I nix too soon?

              2. re: LulusMom

                I think you should be quite comfortable. The service is efficient but not rushed. You might want to tell them that you would like a leisurely meal, as the proximity to Lincoln Center and various movie houses means some people just want a quick bite.

                1. re: rrems

                  Thanks again - the menu looks really good. If we do choose this (and it is now at or very near the top of my picks) I will let them know we're not planning on rushing.

              3. re: rrems

                We are Taboon fans, and for us Andanda (I'm a veggie, wife eats fish) was a no return.

                1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                  Read the report down at the bottom of the thread. She went to Andanada and loved it.

          2. I'm not sure I understand whether you are planning Toloache for just your daughter and yourself or the whole group? Because if you only need one dinner to accommodate the vegetarian, Toloache would be a good choice for menu and food quality, and you and your daughter can try other places if the other meals are for just the two of you.

            Only downside to dinner at Toloache is the noise level pre- and post-theater, but maybe there are corners of the room that are quieter and you could get on the phone and request one since you are reserving far in advance. Toloache also leans more casual than nicely appointed dining, so maybe you want to keep looking. (Sorry I've never eaten at Taboon).

            5 Replies
            1. re: kmzed

              The Toloache meal would be the lunch/brunch on the last day. I'm not a big fan of breakfasty foods (don't care for eggs, don't eat pork, don't like waffles or pancakes - I'm no fun at all at brunch except when they serve unlimited champagne), but both my daughter and I like Mexican, so I figured that would be a way to go out and not have to eat either lunch or breakfast type stuff. It will just be the two of us for that meal. Thanks for the tip about the noise and calling and asking for a quieter table. That's hugely helpful.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Brunch at hecho en dumbo is nearly all savory options, just go when they open for minimal wait time:

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Given the whole proximity issue, is there a reason I would want to go so far instead of do the brunch at Toloache? It seemed to get good reviews (but I don't know the people reviewing it, which is always iffy).

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I had a great brunch at hecho not long ago, have not brunched at toloache before.
                    Hecho is easy to get to via the a/c/e subway stop at 50th/8th ave, on the les so its kind of a "scene" but a fun atmosphere with great food.

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      Somehow I totally missed this response - so sorry for only just reading it now. Thanks for the info, I'll look into it.

            2. Ahh that's why my ears were burning. To the point of hot flashes pretty much (is there such as thing as male menopause?)

              Anywho, been to Taboon 4 times. Like it a lot, not obsessed with it but like it a lot. Its expensive, in the 150-200 per couple range I would say. Great mezzes, FANTASTIC bread specialties, and loving the desserts. In middle eastern restaurants our focus is normally on the apps and sweets, and if the stuff in the middle is good as well, its a bonus. It is a bonus here!

              I'm not sure I understand Brisman's comment. There's nothing wrong with the neighborhood. Its residential and not dangerous in any way if thats whats implied. There are many bars nearby, one cool one is the rooftop of ink48

              Other suggestions:

              Combine two of the suggestions - casellula with Gazala's place nearby.
              Gotham West Market - not the place for long leisurely dinner at one table but more of a fun place to try different {delicious} things under one roof.

              1. How about Ardesia? I assume the location is OK, since it's right around the corner from Taboon. Seemed decent when I was there (September of 2012), except for the chicken liver mousse, which I wouldn't get again. My favorite was the quail egg on toast.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rpk

                  Thanks rpk, I'll look it up, see what's on the menu, etc. Appreciate the input.

                  As for the brunch, I've realized (after eating lunch and then going to see The Book of Mormon on Saturday) that I might well be better off just having a light snack before the show. I tend to get really sleepy after a meal and I'm sure Lulu will be just as happy with a pastry or something.

                  1. re: rpk

                    Ardesia looks very cute, but more like a wine bar with limited menu, maybe not the type of place where we'll feel comfortable hanging out for a long period, and might not feel as special to my cousin and step sister. Am I reading this correctly?

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Ardesia is a wonderful small not very vegetarian friendly wine bar with snacks and seats that are uncomfortable unless you're done with your second glass of wine...... Probably not right for your needs.