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The latest from the Quality Branded group, a Middle Eastern / North African joint helmed by someone who doesn’t hail from anywhere remotely near either region. Which is fine, I don’t care - but clearly they’re being culturally sensitive to the point they don’t even serve “hummus” but rather “chickpea dip” - the intent being thus no one can accuse them of inauthenticity or cultural appropriation I suppose? I dunno. 

Not the biggest fan of the QB portfolio, but the SO likes MENA cuisine so we figured we’d try the new place. 

Anyway, the food was fine. Some quite good. We didn’t have too much. A selection of dips - aforementioned “chickpea” but also “eggplant” (take a guess) as well as green tahini (excellent), whipped ricotta with apricots, and a squash-brown butter thing that didn’t taste remotely MENA but more like a Thanksgiving side dish.  Eh. 

For mains we went surf & turf: beef kabob and lobster tagine. Both were spot-on, perfectly cooked, well seasoned, but nothing making either of us feel like we had to rush back. It’s kind of an if-you’re-in-the-neighborhood place, not a destination. 

There is one big problem, though. The design is terrible. Well, terrible for some diners. The main dining room where the four+ tops are looked nice enough. And if you’re dining at either bar it seems okay. But the row of two-tops by the window… oh boy. I don’t know who dreamt this up (actually I do, it was AvroKo) but they’re weirdly sequestered off from the main dining room, with big walls that serve no purpose just kind of… there. Like, in one direction we have the window, with a view of an empty alley and a Peloton store across it. In two other directions we have this beautiful view:

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and then this stunner:

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There’s literally no view of the main dining room, it’s very closed in and uncomfortable. It felt like everyone dining there was relegated to the “uncool kids” section where they can’t see or be seen by the other customers. Very strange. 
 

If one goes, my recommendation would be to dine at the bar. Cocktails were okay if a bit slight. Wine prices were what you’d expect from QB - ludicrous. No beer list, oddly. 

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