simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Moustache
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Thursday, 19 April 2007


The typical impression of Middle Eastern food is falafel and hummus. And for the average New Yorker the knowledge extends to perhaps baba gannouj, tabouleh, kebabs or shawarma on a spit. But there is much more - the true cognoscenti know of things like zatter bread, ouzi, ful mudammas, labne, moussaka, Merguez sandwiches, lahambajin pitza, rahib, loomi and more. And they know of places like Moustache. There are two locations: 90 Bedford Street and 265 E. 10th Street, both owned by Iraqi chef/restaurateur Salam al-Rawi from Baghdad. Salam also owns Mamlouk at 211 E. 4th Street - a unique very upscale Middle Eastern with a fixed menu. I have only been to the Bedford Street Moustache. This is a little gem of a place, hidden on quiet Bedford Street, with copper-topped tables, an open kitchen with brick oven and a very cozy atmosphere. But be forewarned - this place has frequent lines, long waits, slow and spotty service. But their food is excellent and in fairness, many of the dishes are made to from scratch (like ouzi and their pitzas) and take time - their tag line (proclaimed on T-shirts the wait staff wears) is "slow food establishment." My favorite is ouzi - chicken, carrots, sweet peas, onions, raisins, almonds, basmati rice and spices enclosed in filo pastry dough and served with a yogurt sauce (it can be had vegetarian). They are best known for their Pitzas - brick oven baked pizzas made on their own pita breads. No credit cards, no website, no email address ...


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