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89th And Broke

I'm a young professional living in Astoria (formerly of Williamsburg, the UES and Murray Hill - I move a lot!). I'm always looking for something fun to do or the best place to grab a drink and dinner at an affordable price around the city. Have a suggestion? Email me at Laura AT 89thandbroke DOT com.

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May Meze Madness is Magnificent

Caryn (thoughts are in italics) and I headed over to Pera for the “May Meze Madness” on Thursday.  For $9, we were able to sample 3 different appetizers each.  We sat at the bar and sipped on some recommended cocktails.  I tried the pomegranate martini and found it to be pretty good and was happy it didn’t taste like cough medicine, like some fruity drinks often do.  I tried the blood orange gimlet and loved it – it wasn’t too sweet, just the way I like my cocktails (warning, they are $14 each). As we waited for our meze, the waiter brought out some delicious bread with this cheese, that was a combination of goat and sheep cheese.  While I am not a big goat cheese fan, the bread was phenomenal – it was like warm puffed up pita squares, rather than your typical bread.  Goat cheese is my favorite, so I loved this bread and cheese combo.

I had mentioned before that I’m not a big Mediterranean fan, but this meal changed my thoughts.  I loved the stuffed grape leaves – they weren’t overpowered with dates or mint like I’ve experienced at other restaurants. I’d have to agree. I’ve previously found stuffed grape leaves to have an overpowering taste (not sure what it is), but this time it was much more balanced. I thought there was a mustardy undertone to it, but apparently I was wrong. Oh well, it still tasted good. My calamari salad was light and refreshing, which was a great contrast to the warm hummus that I ordered.  I am always one to refrigerate my hummus, but I’m thinking about keeping my hummus warm moving forward.  Having the hummus served warm was like eating comfort food.  Agreed, I thought this was the standout of the meal – it was absolutely delicious.

I sampled some of Caryn’s dishes too.  I loved these spicy sausage lollipops and was so happy when she offered to split the last one with me.  These were outstanding – I think they actually tie with the hummus for best dish. They were so juicy and flavorful, and I’m so glad they were recommended to us. The whipped roasted eggplant, however, I could do without – that certainly tasted like baby food. I cannot recommend this dish – it was tasteless and the texture was a bit too liquified. If you’re looking for a smooth dip, go with the hummus! My third selection was the mosaic salad, which was a white bean salad with a refreshing and light dressing. It was good, but I wasn’t overwhelmed. 

We also ordered a flat bread pizza ($12) which had rhubarb and goat cheese on it.  These pizzas are made occasionally at the restaurant, but we were lucky enough to come on a night where we could snag one.  Even though I typically don’t like goat cheese, the combination with the rhubarb made an excellent sweet/savory combination.  It was the perfect way to finish off the meal. Wow, this was outstanding. As Laura said, the sweet and savory combo was perfect – I could have eaten a whole one by myself.

I had a great time at Pera and have a new appreciation for Mediterranean food.  Only problem is – I’m worried I won’t make it back to enjoy this special one more time before it ends this month! I’m also going to try and make it back again, but we highly suggest you get there while you can. It’s a very affordable way to sample a new cuisine, so enjoy!

The Basics
Name: Pera
Location: 303 Madison Ave between 41st and 42nd
Who to take: Friends, Date, Your co-blogger
Cost: This deal – $, regularly, $$-$$$
Overall: For the deal – 5 Stars. 

Pera Mediterranean Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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