I passed many times in front of L'ybane, a wine bar few blocs away from Times Square. So, after seeing Lincoln in the movie theater, we decided to try that place. We then came back a second time. This post is about both times!
L'Ybane is a Lebanese restaurant that has also a location in Nice, South of France. They offer a wide range of Mediterranean dishes in full size or tapas style. I have to say that I love tapas, because it is a good way to try different dishes and sharing a dinner is a wonderful thing.
The decor reminds me restaurants you would find in France and the atmosphere, besides the fact that our waiter was French, was very European. They have a pretty impressive wine list, that is not surprising when you see all the bottles on the wall, in the bar area. Luckily, we were there couple of days after the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau! They offered a bottle for $28 or by the Glass for $9. I chose the glass that was a very good deal considering the quantity served.
Jodi and I decided to order few appetizers and then dessert.
We started off with tapenade.
It was a traditional one, made with black olives and served with crostini. It was well done and was not salty at all that is an issue I found sometimes with this dish. The crostini was good, but a bit greasy.
The second appetizer was the merguez.
Merguez is a lamb sausage that I love and can only find in few restaurants. It can be spicy. At L'Ybane, it was not. However, the sauce it was served with was!
The third appetizer was grilled eggplant with yogurt.
This was fantastic! The eggplant was so good and well made. It had this great grilled eggplant taste coming through! At that point, I did not care about the tomatoes and cabbage that were also part of the dish.
Then the last one was the vegetarian moussaka.
I also loved it: it was very tasty, between the eggplant, peppers and crushed tomatoes, and very light!
Then, for dessert, we ordered the baklava and the key lime pie.
The baklava was good but a bit dry.
The key lime pie however was delicious!
This was a great first dinner there, with a fantastic service from one of my fellow compatriots and so, we decided to go back! The second time, we went again for some plates to share.
We started off with the cheese plate.
The plate looked good: lots of cheese and seedless grapes. Unfortunately, they put some nuts on top of the grapes and cheese! They should tell their customer ahead of time as some people do not like nuts and others are allergic! Although their was a nice quantity of cheese, it was not a great selection: brie, swiss and ricotta salata. Disappointing!
The second dish was eggplant fritters.
It was just ok. The eggplant was barely cooked, probably because they sliced it too thick.
The third dish was the goat cheese salad.
Jodi loves goat cheese salad! Each time we go to France, she enjoys it! This one was extremely disappointing! The cheese was just put on a piece of stale bread.
So the second time was not good in term of food and service (the waitress did not even check on us). This shows that restaurant experiences can vary and it is not because you have a bad experience one day that it will not be great the next. Except if it is awful of course! Because of our first experience at L'Ybane, we will probably go back and continue discovering, hopefully, great dishes!
Enjoy (I did...the first time)!