236 5th Avenue (27th St.)
New York, NY 10001

Phone Number 212-683-2929

Web site

Cuisine Contemporary Lebaneseilili-Main Lounge Bar Downstairs

The Best of Old Lebanon and Modern Mediterranean
Come to Life in New York City with the Opening of ilili

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. Old Lebanon and new Mediterranean meet on 5th Avenue with the opening of ilili, a stunning contemporary Lebanese restaurant offering inspired modern cuisine. Not even in Beirut can you get food this inventive. New York’s most exciting new restaurants offer Global, upmarket less familiar (to Americans) ethnic cuisines, packaged for a hip and knowledgeable clientel.

Served within a glamorous ocher dining room, Owner / Executive Chef Philippe Massoud’s menu offers appetizers like a mélange of Eggplant, Garlic, Tahini, Olive Oil and Pomegranate and the famed Manti dumplings, filled with Spiced Lamb, Tomatoes, Mint and Yogurt Foam. Progressive dishes include Mussels with licorice-liqueur, Garlic and Peppers and Kashkawan Cheese, baked with Duck Egg and Desert Truffle, served in a black skillet.

Not to be missed masterpieces include Brussels sprouts, fried w/grapes, fig puree, walnuts & mint (the best version of this mistreated vegetable ever encountered); Amber Jack Raw thin sliced tuna w/wasabi-spiced baba ghannouj;Parchment Filets of Rouget
w/ pita chips, Tahini, and lemon kibbeh Naya and buger-of-burgers: Spiced Beef Kafta, stuffed with flecks of buttery Foie Gras.

There is wonderful seafood as well as kebabs made with tender Kobe beef. For a no-brainer, go for the Lebanese Tasting menu. Complementing the international cuisine, there’s an impressive wine list featuring favorites from Lebanon and the Mediterranean, with a terrific selection by the glass and an interesting Cava Rose, as well as superb cocktails, whether they be a classic martini or the house margarita (an intoxicating mélange of Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Fresh Pomegranate, Lime and Sumac). Phoenician Lemonade is the runner up. For dessert, stick with the classic Essmalieh. a Napoleon of shredded philo and Achta (like clotted cream) and you’ll swoon. Service is wonderful.

Our first restaurant to review in the new year, ilili, 236 5th Avenue, is uniquely upscale, offbeat, and is not to be missed. That rates “A Major” on the Walman Report.

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Lucy of Gramercy

Lucy of Gramercyilli

Address: 35 East 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
(Between Broadway and Park Ave. South)

Telephone: (212) 475 – LUCY(5829)
Fascimile: (212) 598 – 3020

Hours: Dinner:
Sunday – Thursday, 6PM-11PM Friday & Saturday, 6PM -11:30PM

Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. New American Cuisine Gets a Puerto Rican Accent at “Lucy of Gramercy.” Celebrated restaurateur Phil Suarez of Jean George has enlisted acclaimed chef Carmen Gonzalez, of Carmen the Restaurant in Coral Gables, FL, to lead the kitchen at Lucy of Gramercy, bringing the soulful flavors of Puerto Rico into the fine dining context.

A meal at Lucy’s begins in typical Puerto Rican fashion with a sampling of Picadera, a nod to the island’s tradition of street food. From grated yuca stuffed with stewed chicken to succulent Pork Bites with 35 East 18th Streetsauce, selections are perfect for sharing. Gonzalez’s signature Puerto Rican touches are showcased in First Plate selections such as Peekytoe Crabmeat and Avocado Terrine with Key Lime Mayonnaise and Arañitas, Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Malanga Mash and Coconut Gastrique, and Key West Shrimp and Sweet Plantain Pionono with Sofrito Sauce.

Main Plates run the gamut-from deep, robust meats paired with tropically minded trimmings to fresh seafood brightened by citrus-based sauces and flavorful broths. Choose from a juicy Pork Tenderloin served atop Gandules Guisados with Sweet Plantain Fufú; an elegant dish of Slow Braised Boneless Wagyu Beef Short Ribs with Funché is dressed with an Island Mojito sauce; and a delicately cooked Pan Seared Red Snapper is served with White Water Clams, Leeks and Chorizo. A selection of sides-Yuca and Roasted Garlic Mofongo, Crispy Tostones de Platano with Mojo Dipping Sauce, and Warm Wilted Baby Spinach with Toasted Garlic and Fresh Lemon Juice-are also available.

Gonzalez completes the meal with her selection of desserts, which focus on the interplay of seasonal flavors and traditional tastes. Specialties include Warm Mango Bread Pudding with Passion Fruit-Mint Sorbet, Warm Coconut Rice Pudding Tamale with Cajeta Sauce, Rum Raisins and Salted Cashews, and her signature dessert, Chef Carmen’s Flan with Caramel Sauce.

Like the menu, Lucy of Gramercy’s cocktail list reinterprets the traditional, offering guests libations such as the Pisco B with Pisco, thyme syrup, lemon juice and agave nectar; the Spanish Harlem with Maker’s Mark, Angostura Bitters, Garvey Pedro Xímenez Sherry; and the Cavalina with cactus pear puree, lime juice, Cava and a hint of Milagro tequila. The wine list is international in scope, presenting selections from diverse regions with an emphasis on Latin American producers.

Reminiscent of an inviting hacienda with its airy space, terra cotta ceiling tiles and rough-hewn wood beams, Lucy of Gramercy’s new design reflects Suarez and Gonzalez’s distinct personal styles. The whitewashed walls and blonde wood floors enliven both the main dining room and the lounge area. Chairs are natural wood with loose vanilla linens and large-scale still-life paintings depicting vibrant tropical fruit are peppered throughout the space. The bar is flanked by a lively grid of orange, yellow and red tiles and surrounded by plush seating strewn with richly hued pillows-an ideal space to settle in for an intimate cocktail with friends.

Lucy of Gramercy provides an ideal dining experience that is both authentic and memorable and rates “A Major” on the Walman Report.

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