James Mulcahy, the editor of Zagat Blog on food and drinks visited the newly opened Lebanese Armenian Almayass Restaurant in the Flatiron District in New York.
The owners of the restaurant are the brother and sister Alidz and Varak Alexandrian. The restaurant has branches in Lebanon, Kuwait and more recently in Sheraton Abu Dhabi.
The restaurant is the first to bring Lebanese Armenian cuisine to New York. It operates in a location where many Italian and French restaurants can be found.
Alidz Alexandrian says: “My mom decorated everything, from A to Z. The decor and the art represents our culture, which is Lebanese Armenian. My mom's aim was to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. As people walk into the restaurant, they will see the hanging, artisanal glass pieces, which were designed by my mom. They were handmade in Lebanon. Those pieces you can see in all of our other restaurants. The tableau in the dining room is a day in Yerevan, a story in Yerevan. Yerevan is the capital of Armenia. We also have a special Lebanese liquor, Arak, which we mix with water. It turns white, you add ice; it's a little bit strong but very delicious.”
Varak Alexandrian quotes Bernard Shaw's word “'There is no sincerer love than love of food', stating that it is their motto.
“Lebanese food is usually a sharing food. Friends come and sit together and they have dinner and share their food and enjoy their time and the atmosphere”, he says.
Varak then describes one of the favorite Armenian dishes offered by the restaurant: the mantee. “It's a small, boat-shaped pasta topped with garlic yogurt and sumac”, he says.
Both Alidz and Vahak are excited to see how the people will react for this new addition in a neighborhood known for its eateries.
The restaurant features art pieces brought over from Lebanon. It can accommodate large groups, as the Lebanese Armenian cuisine is a shared experience. The restaurant provides also large tables for 10 to 12 people. There is a lounge area with a separate entrance for enjoying traditional drinks from the Middle East.
Read also: Almayass, A Lebanese-Armenian Restaurant In Flatiron
Zagat Blog, 16 April 2012