Tue-Fri, noon-10:30pm; Sat, 10:30am-10:30pm; Sun, 10:30am-10pm; Mon, closed
R at 77th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
67th St. to 100th St., Shore Rd. to Sixth Ave.
Chef-owner Rawia Bishara benevolently reigns over a modestly appointed dining room and open kitchen, supplementing exceptional renditions of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with her own creative riffs on a Mediterranean-flavored theme. Tanoreen’s menu lists more than 50 items and you can’t go wrong with the selection. Unless, that is, you’re one of the sad few who can’t abide garlic, a defining feature of Bishara’s cooking (the others being lemon, parsley, and olive oil, plus her closely guarded blend of “Tanoreen spices”). These flavors resound in everything from a crunchy fattoush salad, strewn with toasted pita and sprinkled with sumac, to one night’s special baby eggplant, stuffed with ground lamb, in a bracing lemon-garlic sauce. If you love lamb, you’re in the right place. Fragrant grape or cabbage leaves stuffed with an expertly seasoned mixture of rice and ground lamb are an irresistible prelude to the menu’s lamby leitmotif. Ditto the double lamb whammy of deep-fried kibbeh balls—three crisp, golden shells made from finely minced lamb and bulghur, encasing a juicy mixture of ground lamb, pine nuts, and onions. Visiting Tanoreen without ordering lamb in some form seems as perverse as skipping the porterhouse at Peter Luger.Recommended Dishes
Smoky, tahini-free purée of eggplant, $7; voluptuous fried slices of eggplant topped with tomato and jalapeño, $8; grape or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground lamb, $17