>> Lebanese Eatery | Eat the World NYC

28 December 2020

Lebanese Eatery


COVID-19 UPDATE: Takeout only, which isn’t much of a change from their usual business model. Online ordering is available at lebaneseeatery.com, and will reduce wait times.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Written by Joseph Gessert, photographed by Liv Dillon.
Until last year Lebanese Eatery was a lunch counter tucked in the back of a bustling supermarket. The market is now gone, but thankfully the eatery remains, serving some of Staten Island’s most well-executed Middle Eastern food.
All of the usual Lebanese mezzeh are on offer, and everything is excellent, but extra love is put into the baked goods. Mini lamb pies ($1.50) are seasoned with red pepper and yoghurt, while chicken pies (also $1.50) are flavored more mildly. Large meat pies (beef, $3.50) are a meal in themselves. All are best supplemented with a side of toum for dipping ($4.50 large). Toum is the Lebanese cousin to aioli, an emulsion of garlic, oil, and lemon juice. The emphasis is on the garlic, and on Lebanese Eatery’s menu as on many US menus, it is sold as “garlic sauce.”
Also great with toum is stuffed squash ($2.99). The skill of Lebanese Eatery’s kitchen is evident in the barely-there thinness of the squash, which has been meticulously hollowed out and filled with a blend of rice and spices, then cooked in a tomato broth. As with other Lebanese restaurants, vegetarians and vegans can eat well here. However, the main business at Lebanese Eatery is in meat, and their meat shawarma ($9.99 for a wrap) combines beef and lamb off the spit with perfect proportions of pickle, veggie, and bread.
Nearby Todt Hill is home to a well-established Palestinian community, and Lebanese Eatery branches out into some Palestinian dishes as well as their Lebanese mainstays. Chicken maqluba (“upside-down,” the one-pot rice dish that is Palestine’s national dish) is an occasional special, but was not on offer during a recent weekday visit. Also available is kunafa ($4.50), the baked filo-and-cheese dessert that is omnipresent in the West Bank and served in volume at Bay Ridge’s Nablus Sweets. Other Palestinian dishes are available on Lebanese Eatery’s catering menu and as occasional specials.

There is nothing revolutionary happening here menu-wise, but it is all done really well, and served with obvious pride by a familial staff. As the menu states, “all food homemade by chef (mom),” and her cooking is definitely worth a trip out of your way. And then again, perhaps in a borough that’s been so hostile at times to immigrants, proudly serving authentic food from far away is revolutionary in itself. Regardless, the cooking is fantastic, and worth a trip from anywhere.

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