Had an early reservation for five to take my father out for dinner last night. When we got there, the waitress recognized my father and grandmother from another restaurant she worked and said hello. The place is quaint, with a small dining room and one must walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom. It is in the same locale as the now defunct Dijon, which in my opinion was Ithaca's best restaurant next to Thai Cuisine. We were the only ones in the restaurant, so obviously, service was stellar, but the waitress was indeed very knowledgeable. The tables was immediately provided two little dishes of feta and olives, but it was a little awkward to pick up. To small to use a fork, so hands it was.
I had the hummus, baba ghanoush and foule mudammas. I had never had the latter, a fave bean, garlic and spices spread. The pita was served in an adorable basket and my only complaint was there was not enough pita for the three nicely sized platters. The hummus was very light, but garlicky. The baba ghanoush was perfect and the foule mudammas was delicious. No flavor was too strong, but there was a nice presence of roasted garlic in each. My brother and grandmother (who is 99) had the PEI mussels and clams in a garlic curry sauce. The only complaint was not enough bread to dab into the broth. They both liked them, but said the garlic flavor was indeed strong. My sister-in-law had the deconstructed falafel and said it was very tasty, but she needed extra sauce.
For the entree My sister and I had the Feta & Preserved Lemon Stuffed Moroccan Chicken Breast with roasted potatoes and some greens beans. The chicken itself was absolutely perfectly cooked. It couldn't have been more tender and juicy. The spiced sauce was a little bland, but not to say it wasn't delicious. It just could have used something, I'm honestly not sure what. The stuffing was delicious, with the salty feta, lemon and (more) garlic mixing perfectly with the spices and the delicious chicken. The roasted potatoes were almost a smashed potatoes and were delicious. My father and brother both had the lamb kata served over basmati rice. I tasted it and the lamb was heavily spiced and a little well done for my liking. It tasted good, but there seemed to be a little too much of one of the spices. I believe it was some nutmeg. The rice was delicious. My grandmother wasn't in the mood to eat, but had order a little oddity on the menu, which was spaghetti and meatballs. Three baseball sized meatballs in a huge bowl of pasta with a perfect amount of sauce. The meatballs, we soft, perfectly seasoned and cooked. The sauce itself was nicely seasoned.
All in all the meal and experience was very good. I think a little laying off of the garlic (although it's a personal preference) and slight altering of the spice amounts and this place could be a gem. With the exception of the ground lamb, everything was cooked absolutely perfectly. I'd definitely go back and look forward to trying the other menu items. Dinner for five was $174 before tip, with a bottle of malbec ($30) and one glass of chardonnay ($6)
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