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Manhattan Lebanese

A delicious Lebanese meal at "al Bustan": 3rd Ave. & 50th

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A delicious Lebanese meal at "al Bustan": 3rd Ave. & 50th

newsjoke | Mar 15, 2003 10:12 PM

Although this place has been around for at least 10 years or so, I did a search of the Chowhound boards and was only able to find two brief references to it. Thus, after having a delicious meal there tonight, I thought I'd share it with "the board"...

When we first sat down, they served us, gratis, a delicious plate of pickled turnips, and rather ordinary plates of pickles and olives.

Then, to start, we ordered a bunch of appetizers. Here they are:

Mouhamara (walnuts, red pepper, garlic and chili pepper): An absolutely delicious concoction! Nicely spicy, with the walnuts ground up with the other ingredients into a fine, spreadlike paste.

Harra Kizzaba (simmered tomato, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic): Again, an absolutely delicous spreadable concoction!

Loubieh Bil Zeit (green beans, tomato and onion): Subtley fragrant and, again, delicious!

Sawdat Dajaj (chicken livers sauteed with pomegranate molasses): So bad for you, and yet so absolutely scrumtious! This was certainly one of the more unique combinations of ingredients I've had in quite a while, and it really worked well.

Now for the two disappointing appetizers:

Salatat El Raheb (smoked eggplant in salad): Too vinegary; definitely not a "winner".

Lebanese salad: Great looking, and nothing exactly "wrong" with it, but unfortunately just rather tasteless.

For the main courses:

Shish Taouck (marinated chicken kabobs): Among the most delicious chicken kabobs I've ever had-- juicy skinless white meat, flecked with red pepper and paprika. The snap peas and carrots that came with it, though, were a bit ordinary.

Samakeh Harra (broiled fillet of red snapper served with a spicy sauce): Although I could find absolutely no trace of "spiciness," this fish was quite fragrant and tasty. Also, we asked them to substitute vegetables for the (standard) rice, so they served it on a delicious bed of spinach flecked with pine nuts.

The service was friendly but a bit underattentive, as there was a large party going on in the (rather small) dining room, and they seemed a bit understaffed for it.

With no booze, the tab including tax, but before tip, was about $105 or so.

Conclusion: I would definitely return.

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