Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mombar Brings the Heat

In the midst of a bitter, cold winter, there's nothing like warming your bones with hearty, comforting food.  That's why Mombar immediately came to mind when Meg, Mackenzi and I met last week for a We Heart Astoria staff meeting.  While I've dined here on several occasions  I'm always impressed by Mombar's hospitality and perpetual deliciousness.  Here's a recap of our spectacular meal:

Appetizer - Our server talked about an appetizer special that made our ears perk up.  It mentioned warm artichokes, tomatoes, onions and Middle Eastern spices that sounded like an enticing combination we were all eager to try.

The texture of the artichokes was perfect - soft enough to cut with your fork but not at all mushy.  Mild, savory flavors permeated the dish, which was a great way to start this meal, as it did a great job of intriguing the palate for other things yet to come.

- We saw several varieties of tajines on the menu and all decided to go for them.  Mackenzi's and mine were in the form of a baked eggplant tajine, while Meg's was a chicken dish with braised olives.  Both were excellent and totally different of course - Meg's more filling and savory, with tender meat, baked with crushed tomatoes and mild green olives.  

The veggie version looked really gorgeous, with a scooped out eggplant bowl, enveloping a medley of bite sized veggies such as zucchini, peppers, onions, peas and chickpeas.  I loved the distinct flavor of cumin and cinnamon that was present through the dish and made it taste really authentic.  If only I could close my eyes and be in Egypt or Morocco...

Dessert - Meg loves a good dessert and wanted to try Mombar's baklava.  They graciously split it into many small pieces for us to share, but I resisted this time.  Looking simple yet beautiful, Meg said she really enjoyed the flaky dough and the plentiful filling that she said was light enough to eat for breakfast the next day.  Just looking at it reminded me of my grandma's delkeli.  Yum...will have to try it next time.

Service and Cost:
I never tire of the careful and family-like service here.  Each diner is made to feel really important and your hosts truly ensure that you like everything.  Chef Moustafa came by, as he usually does and we all loved seeing his bright, smiling face.  He seemed gratified after we sang our praises about everything.

Costs are moderate to inexpensive, and the whole meal set us back about $30/person including tax and tip.  This also included a serving of hot teas for everyone and bottled water (they don't serve tap).

3 Mmmms
Mombar - 25-22 Steinway Street, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to Astoria Blvd

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