August 07, 2013


I could sum this visit up with a few simple words: Go here. NOW. And come hungry. But you know I won't just leave it at that.
Tanoreen has garnered just about every award you can imagine, including high praise from Frank Bruni (who dined there the night after my friends & I did), who called it a 'dream' and a 'NY classic.' Indeed!
My friend JK & her husband have been to Tanoreen numerous times, and when they made plans recently to pop by, she invited me to join them (knowing I never visited before, despite living about 7 blocks away). I jumped at the chance to cross this one off The List.
I started with their iced tea, which was strong, unsweetened, and nicely minty. So refreshing on the almost suffocatingly-sweaty day.
We shared a few appetizers-and the one everyone raves about is the eggplant Napoleon-- fried rounds of eggplant stacked over a deliciously colorful plate of chopped veggies, garlicky babaganoush, and tabouleh. This dish alone is worth the trip to Bay Ridge.
Up next: labneh (thick yogurt spread) dotted with fresh herbs, slathered on their zataar-spiced flatbread and pita. Sublime and refreshing. EVEN BETTER than the labne at ilili (which was fabulous)!
We also shared the cauliflower, which is barely sauteed, then lightly dressed with a tahini sauce and a pomegranate drizzle. Wow. To take an often-overlooked vegetable such as cauliflower and to make it almost steal the show is impressive.

One more dish to share: The Arabic cheese pie with fresh herbs, cheese, and mastic (a flavor I don't always like). The mastic was very mild, though, and the pizza was filled with balanced flavors, crisp veggies, a light crust, and was gorgeous to boot. 
JK ordered the shrimp dish, which I'd briefly considered, too. She enjoyed this, and I demurely turned down her offer to share a bite. I was trying to be on my best behavior. :)

JK's husband ordered the lamb chop entrée. This was huge, and okay, I let him give me some because a) he was closer, b) there was more than enough so I didn't feel I'd be taking 1/5 of his plate, and c) it smelled fantastic. It was tender, well-cooked, and one of the best dishes I've ever tasted. Tanoreen makes some of the best lamb I've ever tried.
My dish was squash blossoms stuffed with finely ground lamb and pine nuts. It came with rice and a tangy/creamy yogurt sauce. I wasn't sure what to expect, as sometimes lamb doesn't ring my bell, but this was mild, delicious, and absolutely flawless. I even ate almost all of the rice (and I usually don't care about rice).

I wouldn't change a single thing about this meal. Every single bite had me wanting more. I had to force myself to stop eating even though I knew I was full. I have no regrets-- except that I hadn't gone to Tanoreen sooner. Every rave I heard about this place was true, true, TRUE!

Tanoreen is a short walk from the 77th street stop on the R train-- you have no excuse (and neither do I) for not eating here at least once in your life! And trust me...once is not enough.

7523 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 748-5600

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