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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Elyssa Dido

Located on what used to be a very scary block of Orchard just above Grand St, amidst a real renaissance of boutiques and little cafes, is new North African/Mediterranean restaurant Elyssa Dido (85 Orchard St (212)991-9880).

A quick search on Wikipedia reveals that the name Dido is from the first Queen of Carthage, which is modern day Tunisia. The deco of the slim space is consistent with the Middle Eastern theme of the place. It is a small space but does have some out door seating for the warmer months.

Currently in the process of applying for a liquor license, Elyssa Dido is BYOB and serves up decent food.

Octavio and I have visited this place twice so far and have had good but not remarkable meals there. I live in the neighborhood and it is so nice to have more options that are a closer walk than just Vietnamese or noodle joints. We plan on making this a regular stop on our eating out circuit. It has been consistent and I love BYOB places.

On the most recent trip we had the Elyssa Cigars with vegetables which are a little like a Mideastern egg roll. Served on a bed of spicy arugula, they are very tasty. We also had the charcoal calamari which was also good but the portion was disappointing, there were only two squid under the lid of the tangine it was served in but the charmoula sauce was delicious sopped up on bread.

The entrees fared better. A seafood tangine was the highlight served with plenty of couscous on the side. Plenty of bay scallops, mussels, shrimp and squid in a saffron broth was satisfying and hearty. The seafood risotto was passable but it was a little runny and needed more salt than I like to add at the table.

The fennel crusted tuna was better. Not over cooked and the interesting twist of fried cauliflower on the side. The grilled salmon was also good. It's simple Mediterranean preparation was actually very flavorful and accented the meat of the fish.

Local pastries and mousses are on offer for dessert and don't pass up the Turkish coffee.

1 comment:

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