Mama Ghanoush

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I love Mediterranean food, and I’m pretty familiar with, specifically, Lebanese food. So, when I saw a pretty adorable Lebanese restaurant sprout up in Kips Bay, I had to visit Mama Ghanoush.

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The interior is very charming and welcoming, with, one of my favorite things in the world, an open kitchen right toward the back of this cozy space, making you feel as if you were in grandma’s kitchen. They use fresh, local ingredients and incorporate others imported straight from Lebanese villages. 

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The menu offers a lot of options from small hot and cold plates, salads, to grilled entrees. I was in the mood to sample a few things, and decided to order a platter, meant to share as an appetizer for two, as my meal. I ordered their Maza Zgheeri (hummus, baba ghanoush, labnah, tabouli, pita). This was great as a meal, or, would definitely be something to get as a starter for the table. Everything tasted fresh, and each item, uniquely flavored on its own, goes really great together as well. The hummus was creamy, topped with some deep fried chickpeas. The baba ghanoush, eggplant, had a nice smokey flavor and really great texture, allowing you to enjoy pieces of the eggplant as opposed to some pureed and whipped versions I’ve had. The tabouli was fresh and zesty and the labnah, a yogurt based dip, was creamy, light, and topped with some cucumber relish for some freshness and crunch. The pita was also excellent, served warm, pillowy and delicious. 

The Shorts:
Name: Mama Ghanoush
Location: 442 Third Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes, the service was great, the ambiance is charming, and the food was really good. 
Would I recommend it? Definitely. It’s a great casual spot to have some Mediterranean food, you know, just like your Lebanese mama used to make. 

Hill and Bay

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On the cusp of Murray Hill and Kips Bay, you’ll find the restaurant, appropriately named, Hill and Bay. From brunch to dinner, you can go in for a casual and chic vibe with an equally attractive menu. 

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I went in on an off-hour, but soon noticed that this new neighborhood restaurant fills up pretty quickly. I ordered their namesake cocktail, the Hill and Bay Spicy Martini (chipotle vodka, pickle brine, blue cheese stuffed olives). I’m not usually one for a dirty martini, but, the chipotle vodka and blue cheese stuffed olives are what sold me. I really enjoyed it, a very mild spice of the vodka, and the bit of saltiness from the brine really compliment each other nicely. And, when a drink comes with its own snack? Fan. 

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I also ordered Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with pickled summer cucumbers. It was so delicious. The toasted bread had the perfect crispness and softness, topped with creamy and mild cheese. The salmon was savory and generously folded on top. And, I really liked the pickled cucumbers, which, had a sweet relish quality to them. 

The Shorts:
Name: Hill and Bay
Location: 581 2nd Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, the menu offers such great options, I’ll have to go back to try more.
Would I recommend it? Yes. And, down the block is a movie theater, so, catch a flick and grab a bite before or after.