This August, I was officially feeling Middle Eastern food. I could not seem to get enough of it this month. Something about being able to dip a soft pita into a creamy hummus, accompanied by some slow-roasted lamb and a spice-laden octopus dish felt so satisfying to me. Two of my favorite places that I visited were Middle Eastern and could not have been more different, but are now both a part of my regular rotation. Read on for all of my restaurant visits during the month of August.
Miss Ada – One of the best restaurants I’ve been to this year. This little spot with a beautiful backyard garden in Fort Greene came highly recommended by a friend, and I could not have been more impressed. The hummus and baba ganoush were to die for, and the grilled octopus app was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Also, don’t miss the salmon entree.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club – I had the best experience in the Rockaways this month, and a big part of that was a delightful lunch stop at Tacoway beach. The tacos are simple, fresh, and delish – I recommend the fish tacos. Add a side of spicy seasoned cucumber sticks and you’re golden.
Pietro Nolita – I would sum up this dining experience as gimmicky and disappointing. I’m sure you’ve walked by the pink facade of this NoLiTa establishment, and I recommend you continue to keep walking. The food was flavorless, the portions small, and all of it wholly overpriced.
The Drug Store – A cocktail bar, sans alcohol? I was intrigued. Although I don’t think this is a sustainable concept because of the pricing (comparable with an alcoholic drink), I do have to say that the activated charcoal lemonade was quite tasty on a hot summer day.
Nur – I serendipitously made a reservation for Nur and ended up going the day after the New York Times review came out (2 stars!). While I preferred Miss Ada to Nur (more low key, easier to get in, better ambiance), Nur was an incredibly delicious experience, and there is something to be said for the level of detail present in the food. Top picks are the eggplant carpaccio, black sea bass, and grilled lamb. You also can’t go wrong with the bread service (aka giant Jerusalem bagel the size of your face).
Atla – Enrique Olvera strikes again with this little cafe-style Mexican joint in NoHo. I absolutely love it for a casual breakfast in the sun-bathed window. Far more low-key than its sister spot Cosme, the dishes are not short on flavor. I love the scrambled eggs a la Mexicana and a horchata for a weekday win.
Cafe Altro Paradiso – Classic, simple, and always good. Whether you go for salads and seafood (get the nectarine salad and the octopus), or dig into a hearty pasta (love the lazagnette), the vibe is cool, the bar is awesome, and the wine list is accessible.