Chickpea | Ukrainian Village/East Village | Middle Eastern | Restaurant
This location has been flagged as "Closed".
CLOSED. Quick-service home-style Middle Eastern cooking.

Our Review

How do you tell mom her cooking isn’t very good? The answer is: You don’t. So when Amni Suqi, the mother of Jerry Suqi (Narcisse, Sugar, La Pomme Rouge, and now Jam), made the rounds at Chickpea to ask how we liked the food, we didn’t bring up the fasoolya, a braised lamb chop that was mostly bone, gristle, and fat atop a bowl of rice with heavily cooked green beans and tomato pulp. Or Thursday’s "mama’s special," bathinjan mihshee, three baby eggplants stuffed with rice and a little minced lamb swimming in tomato broth so salty we wanted to wipe it off. Or the icy-cold fattoosh, which had more limp chopped lettuce than tomato, cucumber, and scallion--and little pieces of crunchy salted pita we could count on one hand. Never mind that Jerry called each item "awesome" as he slowly wrote down and rang up our order at the counter. Only the kibbe came close: a crisp cracked-wheat torpedo stuffed with flavorful lamb, onions, and pine nuts and complemented by yogurt with cucumbers and mint. We also enjoyed a trio of dips--plates of smoky baba ghannoush, rich koosa ma laban (yogurt with zucchini and mint), and prettily decorated hummus. The sandwiches are mostly smaller portions of kebabs and other entrees stuffed into pita; the falafel we tried was fine. A Saturday special, mussakhkhan, sounded so intriguing we returned to try the Palestinian national dish and weren’t disappointed by a trio of moist, crispy-skinned pieces of chicken thigh with caramelized onions and pine nuts atop chewy flatbread. But this time we, like about half the customers we saw, got takeout, because blasts of frigid winter air whenever the door opened made the small storefront uncomfortable. The perks: free play on the pinball machine and minted tea while we waited. The drawback: when we tried to call in an order, the machine always picked up.

Anne Spiselman

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