Tanoreen – Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Tanoreen - Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
What I Ordered

Review By: Julianne Di –

I don’t even know where to begin. How do you pay homage to your food Mecca? I have never felt so lucky to discover this place; I kind of consider Tanoreen my boyfriend and my personal restaurant because we found it by scouring through our Zagat in our never ending search to find good food. And, our discovery of it was a total accident! We were actually planning to go somewhere else, but that restaurant was closed and so we settled for Tanoreen instead. I have to tell you, it was love at first bite! Instead of bread, they bring pickled beets, veggies, and olives to the table. By far the most amazing beets that I have ever had – so good that I went searching through the supermarket for jars of pickled beets because I hadn’t even known that I liked beets until my meal at Tanoreen. By the way, don’t waste time on jars of pickled beets they don’t even taste close to what they serve here; in fact, I don’t know what they do to their veggies but it’s magic!

In my excitement about the beets and veggies, I almost forgot to mention the pita bread they bring out as well. In the basket, there’s one thin crispy one with “Tanoreen spices” on it. Do yourself a favor and grab it fast! Make sure you get it before anyone else does because it is the most delicious piece of crispy pita in the world. One day I am going to ask for a whole basket of those. I’m dying to know what the Tanoreen spices are. I cook a lot and keep trying to figure out their amazing combination, but I am dumbfounded. But, as long as I can buy a huge jar of Tanoreen spices to take home with me, I will settle for the mystery and sprinkle it on everything I eat.

I don’t want to isolate my review to one single dining experience here because every experience I’ve had has been amazing.  As far as entrees are concerned, I’ve never ordered the same one twice. I have a Tanoreen rule – I always have to try a different dish when I go. Except for one appetizer that my boyfriend Mauricio and I also consider “our” appetizer (yes, we are very possessive when it comes to Tanoreen). The appetizer is called Musakhan; it’s a genius combination of shredded chicken, caramelized onions, pine nuts and spices. It’s just perfection and it’s the one food we order over and over again and introduce to anyone else that we take there with us. I mean when you discover a place this amazing in your own backyard you want to spread the good news. (Okay so what if the Zagat really discovered it first, our family and friends don’t have to know that. Shh..)

There’s something about this food that makes you dream about it at night and daydream about it all day. Before you know it, you get a hankering for some Eggplant salad and lemonade. Not just any lemonade, fresh lemonade with a delicious hint of rosewater. The service at Tanoreen is almost as amazing as the flavorful and exotic looking cuisine. The owner/chef is always there and she comes around, introduces herself and makes sure that ever diner is happy and satisfied. I even order food to go sometimes because I can’t control the cravings when they strike. Just writing about Tanoreen has my mouth watering for their lamb stuffed artichokes.  Lamb to me is like a good steak. I love it and it is by far my favorite meat. Tanoreen scores even more points in my book (if that’s possible) because they have lamb cooked all different ways and in many different styles. There is always a “specials” section of the menu which changes every season. I once had a stuffed zucchini with a tahini sauce. It was stuffed with lamb and rice and it was superb. I would say definitely go to Tanoreen with as many people as possible so you can try tons of dishes.

In addition to the amazing apps and entrees, they also have the  best desserts. I would know considering I’ve had every single one. My favorite is their Harissa, which is a coconut semolina cake with rosewater syrup. It’s a combination of crispy and sweet and delicious. I usually never have room for dessert but I’ll always have a few bites of Harissa and then take the rest home with me.  I know this sounds crazy, but if I could go there every night for my Harissa fix I would.

The only thing wrong with this restaurant is that it hasn’t published a cookbook yet so I can try and emulate some of their recipes in my own kitchen. Maybe one day. Well, now that you are done reading this, don’t just sit there. Go to Tanoreen!

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  • Virginia Papandrea

    I ate there yesterday and it was wonderful–rich, intense flavors and beautiful presentation. AND, the cookbook by chef/owner Rawia Bishara has just been published so you now can try out the recipes at home. The title is “Olives, Lemons and Za’atar.” The food is really quite special, well worth the trek to Bay Ridge if you don’t live nearby.