Today it is practically Hurricane Gloria here in New York, so James and I are lucky that we did our driving yesterday. Specifically, we drove to an art opening on Staten Island, where I have not been for decades. I cannot drive over the towering Verazzano-Narrows Bridge without thinking of the suicide scene from Saturday Night Fever. Back in the day I loved John Travolta so. Now, not so much.
Anyway, after the opening, we got on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and exited at the Brooklyn neighborhood Bay Ridge. On 3rd Ave in Bay Ridge is a fantastic Middle Eastern joint named Tanoreen. From Staten Island, Bay Ridge is not hard to reach. From Manhattan, it is the third to last stop on the R train. A trek. The food was fabulous.
Our appetizers of tahini-rich and parsley-laced (I am a fiend for parsley) hummus and sauteed fava and green beens filled us so that we had essentially to cart home our entrees. The homemade lemonade with "secret" ingredients--tamarind, for one--quenched our thirst as alcohol wouldn't (the restaurant does not yet have a liquor license, but you can bring your own bottles of wine).
I ordered baby squash stuffed with ground lamb in a yogurt mint sauce with rice with vermicelli. James got kibbie balls with little doughy lamb pastries in a yogurt sauce with vermicelli rice. I read in my Claudia Roden Middle Eastern cookbook that the broken vermicelli in rice is a typical Arab dish and that the vermicelli stand for prosperity. Delicious.
Oooh, the meals were so fragrant with nutmeg, mint, and garlic. When we re-heated the dishes today there was hardly any oil. The ingredients were quite fine, and everything tasted just as good as last night.
Tanoreen doesn't take reservations for parties of two. We waited from 8:15-9pm sipping Guinness at the Irish pub down the block.