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Lebanese restaurants have long been absent from the East Village restaurant scene. Cozy Balade attempts to fill that void—but our meal was disappointing. Beyond its warm lantern lighting and familial reception lurk dishes that wouldn’t fly on even the most touristy block in Beirut. Warm pita emerged from the oven gummy and undercooked, while plump beef-stuffed kibbe were still frozen inside. Bland hummus and wan baba ghanoush were as generic as the packaged stuff in a deli. Only the “pitza”—warm flatbread topped with a mix of beef and lamb shawarma sprinkled with sumac—and sweet, sticky pastries (such as flaky baklava) are worth sitting down for.

Venue name: Balade
Contact:
Address: 208 First Ave
New York

Cross street: between 12th and 13th Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Wed, Sun 11am–11pm; Thu–Sat 11am–2am
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave
Price: Average main course: $14. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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