El Dar Restaurant & Café

East Village
You don’t need to know much about Middle Eastern cuisine to recognize what’s wrong with the menu at El Dar: Mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings and nachos simply don’t belong at any restaurant where fez-wearing greeters bring diners to tables under fabric-tented roofs. Alas, dish after dish made us wonder if we should have picked the pub grub over the native fare after all. A sampler platter (designated an entrée but more appropriate as a shared app) gathered a collection of underwhelming bites, including bland falafel and runny, unflavorful hummus. Hot dishes offered no improvements. The braised lamb tagine, a slightly sweet stew stocked with prunes and almonds, was brought to life with a little extra salt but marred by an occasional wad of flabby meat. Bits of chicken were deliciously tender yet served with underseasoned couscous. On the upside, the staff couldn’t be much nicer and the portions are generous. Bring your own sea salt along with you and you’re in business.
Venue name: El Dar Restaurant & Café
Contact:
Address: 171 Ave A
New York

Cross street: at 11th St
Opening hours: Mon–Wed 11am–2am; Thu–Sat 11am–4am; Sun 11am–midnight
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave
Price: Average main course: $12. MC, V
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