Six of us, with three birthday revelers among us, celebrated at Kabab Cafe last night, and Ali put out a fantastic spread for us:
Sauteed artichoke hearts
Warm Beet Salad with onions and apples
Fava Beans (foul)
Flash-Fried Swiss Chard
Scallops and portobello mushrooms and green vegetables over rice (a supberb dish)
Grilled Porgies with sauteed vegetables
Fried small fish (about the size of sardines -- you eat 'em whole -- full of lemon)
Cold steamed rock crab
Cold steamed blue crab
Grilled leg of lamb over rice with grilled eggplant and zucchini
Fried potatoes with lemon
Mixed dessert plate (four different Egyptian desserts)
Everything was terrific. As has been the case lately, the standouts for me have been those wonderful porgies and the beet salad.
The price for this feast (I believe that the desserts were comped): $23 before tip.
If Ali were a businessman instead of an artist, he would install a cover charge for the entertainment he provides. Nothing he could charge would compensate for his charm.
Ali doesn't ordinarily serve some of this shellfish, but is happy to do shopping for you if you give him a day or two's notice. Obviously, his prices even for these specials are more than fair.
Kabab Cafe; 25-12 Steinway Street; Astoria, Queens.