An awesome Lebanese Restaurant in East Village, NYC
After I left Central Park, I took the F to The East Village. It was a 10 minute walk or so from the subway and along the way, I asked for directions. The one man I asked, I showed him the directions I had printed out and he exclaimed: "Oh! My friend owns that restaurant! Mind if I photograph this and send it to him?" I smile and say, "Sure, go ahead!" After he snaps the picture, he tells me it's only a few seconds a way in the north. I find it two minutes later.
was sweating when I walked through the door of Balade. I was the first and only one there. A Middle Eastern guy greeted me and I said I had reservations, for one, at 2 PM. He welcomes me and sits me. We talk all throughout the meal. I explained that tomorrow (July 4) was my birthday and I was spending the day celebrating now. He smiled and wished me a happy birthday.
He pours the water and I ask for the data juice, which is called دبس (dibs). The waiter, whose name is Hamza, was really friendly as I mentioned above. Before guests arrived, Hamza and I had nice conversations. I also ordered the Baba Ghanouj as an appetizer. I knew what I wanted for a meal: quail with rice. I also asked him if I could take pictures for my blog. He smiled and said, "absolutely!" Hamza suggests to me that maybe I should submit my photography for various publications.
When more people arrived, conversations ceased. Hamza brought out my Baba Ghanouj and ajwa; both were AWESOME. I loved the ajwa - it was very sweet. I could taste a hint of rose in it. Then Hamza brought out my quail and rice. The quail reminded me a bit of duck. It was dark. It had an orange zest taste to it. They are small and I scarf them down.
Hamza brings out more Baba Ghanouj for me. He said, "Free of charge. Happy birthday!" I thanked him. The quail and rice was $25, the Baba Ghanouj was $8 (Hamza also gave me the ajwa for free). The total bill was $35 after taxes. Because Hamza was a great waiter, I left him a $15 tip. Still, $50 isn't bad for NYC.
I was really pleased with Balade. When I returned home, I saw Hamza also included Baklava with the Baba Ghanouj. Their Baklava was awesome too! I would definitely recommend Balade!