Last night I dined with one of my Lebanese friends at a new arab restaurant called Naya. It’s on 2nd Avenue between 55th and 56th, so we ventured north for the occasion. We also tried to keep our expectations low. If you grew up eating the food, it’s hard to eat it at a restaurant. It’s never the same. But Naya does come close. The kibbeh ROCKED – small, crispy thin crust and perfection all around. The grape leaves were good for the cold, mushy variety, but I still prefer the hot, not-mushy, cooked in tomato sauce variety. Hummus, tabouleh, mujadara and fattoush all very good.
The interior (pictured above) was designed by Michel Abboud and is very groovy for the neighborhood but from a design perspective, about 5+ years ago. But he did make the most of a very long, very narrow space, with a clever storage solution for coats and bags (those “boxes” under the seating areas). One problem: no place to stand while you are waiting (no bar area, yet).
That said, there are very few Arab restaurants with good interiors AND good food (Ilili comes to mind but nothing else in the city) so we must give props where due.
We give this the joint Palestinian-Lebanese thumbs up.
Open for dinner only, for now, and no delivery yet.