Sufiya’s Grill

sufiyas

For my first Persian/Iranian food experience, I’m so glad it was at Sufiya’s. From dining there, it has a predominant Mediterranean feel but with those additional cultural influences. I pass by here frequently, but never noticed this place! The shopping complex is currently renovating their storefronts, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled when driving along. It can be easily missed.

First impression? What a classy, cozy spot. Beautiful paintings/decorations with a spacious feel. And since it was a nice night outside, they opened up the front doors and let the cool brisk air in. That was a nice touch. Even though I looked at the menu briefly beforehand, I still couldn’t decide on what to eat. Oh, the choices! They have a dinner special (Mon-Thurs) after 3pm for $12.95, you can choose from an array of entrees with white or basmati rice. Very reasonable prices here.

I ended up on getting the Lamb Shish Kebab which came with Green Rice (seasoned with Saffron and other spices), a grilled tortilla and roasted veggies — onion, peppers, tomatoes. It was fantastic. To be honest, that’s the best lamb I’ve had in a long time. It was seasoned and salted perfectly. And I really enjoyed the grilled veggies… it added a healthy touch to the meal. The portions were also a good size. I couldn’t finish my meal.

We also ordered the Falafel appetizer which was very good. Crispy and flavorful. The dusting of paprika and parsley was a nice addition too. The staff were helpful and patient with my questions while I was ordering. And they really made me feel welcome there as a first-timer. I will DEFINITELY be back and I’m looking forward to trying their other menu items!

P.S. They have belly-dancing on certain nights. Sounds fun!
P.P.S. I was too full that night, BUT if you check-in to Yelp, you get a free dessert.

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Bengal Tiger Indian

To be honest, sometimes I’m skeptical about price-fix menus. Yes, the food comes at a slight smaller portion. But that’s to be expected. In past experiences, sometimes even the quality/flavor lacks that luster that you would find in their regular dishes. Not here. No way, no how. Bengal Tiger Indian Food packs quite a punch when it comes to their cuisine.

Located on the 2nd floor, Bengal Tiger is a cozy, bright little space. There’s not much seating to go around so if you plan on coming for a bite… arrive before that dinner rush. They have beautiful artwork/phrases from wall to wall with those classic warm as well as jewel tones… very inviting. I was meeting my friend after work and we got there JUST in time. We managed to snag the last spot since a portion of the restaurant was conquered by a meetup group. Although a tight space, we sat comfortably.

Vegetarians, have no fear. You have options here! (Rhyme not intended.) My friend had plenty of meatless options which was great. For the price of $16.95, you get an appetizer, entree and dessert. Not bad IMO.

bengaltiger-samosa

App/Veggie Samosa: Phenomenal. The outside is crispy and the inside was generously seasoned filled with potato and peas. And it was on top of a green & red sauce that had quite the kick. Let’s just say I asked for a personal pitcher of water.

bengaltiger-chickentikka

Entree/Chicken TIkka Masala: Had to go with the classic choice, of course Indian spicy. (Go big or go home!) The chicken was extremely tender and there was just the right amount of sauce to meat ratio. The layers and depth of earthiness and savory flavors were on par.

bengaltiger-kheer

Dessert/Kheer: I’m a rice pudding lover. Add cashews? Spices? Home run.

All in all, I highly recommend Bengal Tiger. There’s unlimited basmati rice and their Naan is superb. The prices won’t burn a hole in your wallet and they don’t sacrifice on the spice. Staff was incredibly friendly and my water glass was never empty. This is a fantastic little spot to satisfy all your Indian Food cravings.

58 W 56th St
2nd Fl
New York, NY 10019

(212) 265-2703

bengaltigerindianfood.com

The Little Uglyduckling

Uglyduckling is the newest addition to the many adorable shops and eateries along Smith St. This street is a favorite of mine — so naturally when searching for a nice place to grab a drink/grub after a crazy week at work, my friend and I wandered into Cobble Hill.

inside-uglyduckling

Only 2 weeks old, the Uglyduckling offers a diverse selection of American /Gastropub cuisine as well as a nice wall of craft beers on tap. It has a cool, hip vibe with the mismatch wooden panels on the wall, giant tv screens, vintage lighting and chalkboard artwork to name a few. There’s not a whole lot of seating but for the size of the place, they definitely utilize what space they have. We decided on sitting at the bar for dinner… and much to my surprise, they have bag hooks! Ladies (or gentlemen) your wishes have been granted. But in all seriousness, its a small but important perk.

I thought to myself, “what to choose, what to choose” when glancing at the beers along the wall. And then my eyes fell upon the Left Handed Brewing Co. NITRO MILK STOUT. I’ve been searching for this beer for the LONGEST time. So glad it’s at a bar nearby! And might I mentioned it was perfectly poured and delicious. As for the menu, very interesting items. I ended up choosing the Chicken and Waffles ($16). I was intrigued at the combination of the classic dish but with a side of spicy aioli. The buttermilk waffle was fluffy and equally crispy as the corn-flake crusted chicken. The spicy aioli was a nice touch, although I’m not sure if everyone would like that combination of flavors. But all in all, my dish was great. I would definitely order it again.

chickenwaffles-uglyduckling

tap-uglyducklingNot only was the food tasty, but the staff was personable and welcoming. Most of the staff are from Ireland so I immediately struck up a few conversations about my good ol’ days studying abroad in Limerick. Made for some great banter. Next time… my eyes are on the Pork Belly & Quail Egg Burger. Wishing the staff of Uglyduckling the best of luck! I’ll be visiting again very soon.

P.S. They’re creating a brunch menu and a happy hour which should be finalized within a week or so. So keep your eyes peeled.

166 Smith St

Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Wyckoff St & Warren St in Cobble Hill

uglyduckling-bk.com

Ki Sushi

Front-Ki Sushi

You Yelpers don’t lie. This place blows other Japanese restaurants out of the water. I will try to piggy-back off of what everyone else is saying without being too repetitive. Let’s just let it be known that Ki puts the ISH in fish.

I was visiting Brooklyn for the day with my mother. It was her birthday and we were both craving sushi. Having somewhat solid sushi joints in Long Island, I was hoping to stumble upon a decent lunch spot during my travels. Seeing as Ki was so highly-praised, we had to eat here.

Their ambiance really separates itself from other sushi restaurants. With the sounds of cascading water and low lighting, I truly felt relaxed. Feng shui just radiates from here. It was decently crowded for a Wednesday lunch but we were lucky enough to get a seat right near the window. Their lunch prices are extremely reasonable considering what they give you for your meal. It was $12 for a chicken teriyaki bento box.

Bento Box-Ki Sushi

Here’s what a $12 lunch includes at Ki:
-Ridiculously good miso soup
-Ginger Salad
-Chicken Teriyaki, White Rice with black sesame, 2 Gyoza, steamed veggies (that included butternut squash. unusually amazing pairing), and a california roll.*

Sushi- Ki Sushi

The food looks so artfully prepared. You can tell it was made with precision, care and only the freshest of ingredients. What I appreciated most was the amount of fish to rice ratio. And that they give you 8 pieces instead of 6. Many places skimp on the fish but not Ki. I was not only thoroughly impressed with that but also on the aesthetics on the plating! If you’re a big green tea drinker like me… there’s unlimited re-fills. Huzzah!

Ki, you have now climbed your way to the top of my list of “favorite sushi places”.

*If you’d like you can substitute your california roll with another for an additional charge. I was craving the philly roll and it only cost $2 extra. Don’t be afraid to ask!!

122 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

b/t Dean St & Pacific St in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill

(718) 935-0575

Brick Oven Bread? Homemade Hummus? YES Please!

I must admit, I’m new to the world of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine. Being that it was heading towards the last days of Restaurant Week, I wanted to venture into something new. When looking at the price fixe menu, theirs immediately caught my eye. With such a diverse assortment of foods, I was all in.

My friend and I kinda made last-minute plans to dine, so the only reservations we could get were at the bar. I usually don’t like eating at the bar since it tends to be very crowded and I had no idea how big or small the inside of Taboon was going to be. When I stepped inside I was pleased to find it was not only spacious but beautifully decorated. Low lighting, clean accents and a rustic feeling. And that oven! You could just smell the aroma of fire-roasted foods waiting to be eaten. As for our seating arrangements– probably the best dining experience I’ve ever had at the bar. Our bartender was on point. He was attentive, friendly, talkative, and just an all around awesome guy. (And might I add good-looking too.)

Now onto the food:
Bread-Taboon-Their signature, known-for flatbread cooked in the taboon oven was ridiculously delicious. One bite and you’ll be transported to your food happy place. It was well seasoned, crispy and buttery. As well as it came with a trio of dips–homemade hummus, tzaziki and baba ghanoush. They were all silky, earthy and creamy.

-(Appetizer) Creamy Yukon Potato and Asparagus Soup: Very creamy & savory and just hit the spot with all this cold weather happening lately.
Chicken Taboon-Taboon
-(Entree) Chicken Taboon: Organic free-rang chicken breast with cured lemon, Israeli couscous, broccoli rabe, pearl onion confit and all topped with a panzanella salad. This dish was very refreshing, light and refined. The chicken was tender, juicy as well as flavorful. All around it was a great dish.

Silan-Taboon

-(Dessert) Silan*: I saw so many outstanding comments about this dish and had to try it. Decadent vanilla ice cream with puffed rice cereal, date honey, caramelized pistachios and shredded halva. I have no idea how this was thought up but thank you to whoever did.

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*Alright. Let’s just say I was in a beauty pageant, and they asked me what would make the world a better place. You’d think world peace right?? NOPE. SILAN. Silan is what should make the world go round.

773 10th Ave
New York
New York, NY 10019
b/t 53rd St & 52nd St in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West
(212) 713-0271
taboononline.com