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Midtown South / Chelsea >
Middle Eastern >
Posted by SarahJoan on 02/16/2008
We had a very good Valentine's dinner here. We started with the tuna tartare, warm eggplant and babaganouj mezzas and then shared the black cod and grilled lamb kabob. As was the case with the last reviewer on this site, we were also advised to choose something else with our main course. Our server had advised us to order 5-8 items between the two of us, and though it seemed like a lot, we found she wasn't just trying to up-sell, but was really looking to make sure felt satisfied. We chose to add the Lebanese rice with cinnamon and rosemary, a nice way to round out a course of kabobs and fish. It had a nutty sweetness a really unique approach to rice. We found the food to be very good, with the exception of the babaganouj, which was a bit too smoky for us. Service was unobtrusive yet attentive, and uniformly smooth, especially when compared with our experience here in late November. We ogled a luscious looking chocolate dessert on the table next to us, but had no time to stay and try it. We'll be back to sample that, as well as some Lebanese wine, which looked reasonably priced and well represented. With cocktails and wine, you're looking at $50-$90 per person, depending on the size of your appetite, your preference in wine or liquor, and whether or not you order dessert. Go here if you're willing to spend money on a good value. Otherwise, go for a never-ending pasta bowl at your local Olive Garden and leave bloated and bored...just remember, there's a difference between gourmand and gourmet.
Posted by Anonymous on 02/15/2008
As accurately reviews, Ilili has a very interesting setup and the waitress was very nice and helpful. We needed to over tip her for the delicacy with which she guided us through the mediocre, under portioned and over priced dishes! Luckily, both my wife & I are lean, so the $200 dinner didn’t affect our waistline. The mezze is more exciting on the menu than in reality, so whatever would be an accurate description for the lowly Middle Eastern appetizers. We realized the trap and ordered 2 fish main courses as appetizers and 2 meat dishes as main courses. Never ever had we ordered 4 main courses, but wait, there is a twist. The waitress advised us to get a FIFTH main course because she correctly realized it wasn’t enough! Hence the over tipping So, if you are above 165 lbs (and over 4 ft tall) you may think twice about eating here! The wine selection is on the cheap (wholesale) side, but you’ll pay as if it’s expensive. Only amateurs get will pay a lot for Cote du Rhone wines, which rarely match the quality of Bordeaux or Burgundy. But if taste lacks and money abounds, then try the cocktails as well:)
Posted by Anonymous on 12/28/2007
Heard of the new opening, so gave it a try. Definitely exceeded expectations. Every plate we tried was great from apps to desert. The pita bread is delicious and comes right out of the oven. The staff was very friendly as well. Try the Lebanese wine. It is great for groups of people as the space is large, open, and modern. Will definitely be back.
Posted by BostonFoodie on 12/16/2007
I guess they got rid of the previously reviewed "Hitler" at the door because we were greeted warmly and treated like food reviewers! We were early for our reservation and opted to sit at the bar for a predinner cocktail. The bar staff was fun and accomodating introducing us to their unique drink selection. Try the "Passion of Beirut". Our dinner was amazing with one great flavor following another. The menu allows you to try (and share) many different dishes from traditional (hummus) to unique; Amber Jack with Babaganoush and pomegranate. Kind of a Japanese/Lebanese fusion. The Duck Shwarma was the big hit at our table and the lamb kabob melts in your mouth. The bread (made in the restaurant) is warm from the oven and rolled nice and thin as not to fill you up! The wait staff was extremely attentive and worked hard to make sure our dining experience was memorable. It was! We will definitely visit Ilili again next time we are in the city!
Posted by Laura on 12/11/2007
The food is amazing. My family and I had dinner there once and we went back and brought some friends back with us who loved the food like we did.
Posted by george on 12/07/2007
I thought it was just me but I now know its not me with a problem..my wife and I arrived at 7.00pm on a Tuesday night and we had a reservation for 4 people..Hitler at the door snarled at us and told us to go to the bar til the other 2 people arrived..the restaurant was empty, only one table occupied..I explained that I did not like sitting in the bar and would like to sit down at our table and order some wine..in his best german he snarled at me and told me to wait..he pretended to be busy and important and with a lot of bad grace allowed us to sit down..really got our evening off to a bad start.....we enjoyed the food and the service was excellent..we had the Musar wine, one of the best from Lebanon and frankly were disappointed. WE would be happy to go back but only when Hilter on the door has been deported...we do not need to go to places with people like that in charge of reservations..get him out of there..
Posted by Anonymous on 11/30/2007
We expected far more from Massoud after all the hype. The menu descriptions looked interesting, but the food was at best mediocre. Most items were greasy, cold, and/or salty, and left us both bloated. The cool bathrooms were by far the best part of this restaurant.