Restaurants, Lebanese Hell's Kitchen
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Jeffrey Gurwin
One of the city’s hipper Middle Eastern restaurants, this lusty space is a welcome oasis on the western fringes of midtown. Flickering candles, a tiled open kitchen and a working stone oven offer a nice backdrop to the piquant, Pan–Middle Eastern cuisine. Standards like tsatsiki and hummus are well executed, but more inventive dishes, like the savory pastry cigars filled with sweetbreads, oyster mushrooms, parsley, preserved lemon and harissa, are more interesting.


Venue name: Taboon
Address: 773 Tenth Ave
New York
Cross street: at 52nd St
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 5–11pm; Sat, Sun 5–11:30pm
Transport: Subway: C, E to 50th St
Price: Average main course: $24. AmEx, MC, V
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There are multiple questions you would understandably have for anyone who suggested grabbing dinner at Taboon. First and foremost would probably be "why the hell are we going to that part of town? I don't need to lease a certified pre-owned car."

But in the culture-devoid neighborhood that is "upper Midtown west-west" (UMWW) stands this culinary oasis, although it's sheer coincidence that it also happens to be a Middle Eastern joint. Taboon may actually be my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant in the city.

Just as a quac trio is a no brainer at any Mexican spot, the appetizer trio at Taboon is a must order. The hummus will make you forget Sabra is even a thing, and the baba ghanoush is perfectly seasoned. All served alongside a loaf of fresh housemade focaccia.

For dinner, go with a fish. The hanger steak is solid, but the branzino and halibut are the real winners. Last time I went was with my old man and he ordered the "pot pie", which was the size of the crater left by the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. 

I also credit Taboon as the place that introduced me to Middle Eastern wines. With bottles from Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Lebanon, you'd be a fool to order a pinot noir. Go with something you can't pronounce.