Saturday, July 02, 2005

bellyfuls and belly dances: a visit to nicola's

[previous post in the Weekend Dinner Club]

The nice thing about Nicola's for me was the nature of the service. The vibes were more personable. My reactions of the food were undermined by the recent overdose of Mediterranean restaurants. So I wasn't surprised to see the grape leaves (even though they do merit a thumbs-up). The hummus (spelled "hommos" on their menu; which leads me to ask: how exactly do you spell it??) was lower on the lemon than Mezza's was. That last experience made us wiser and we chose the "Family Style Dinner", which gave us a sampling of four appetizers, plus a chef's choice of two salads, three entrees and the special of the day. The biggest downer was the presence of two things one might associate with a few restaurants like this: belly dancing and loud music. Was prepared for neither, and although I have nothing against belly dancing, the repetitive rhythms, the aggravating thump of the bass elements, and the generally high volume preventing any useful conversation gave this place a few minuses. The main attraction of this place (the lamb shank) may or may not have made it in eventually (the server was very gracious to substitute one of the items on the platter with that). Didn't care for too many helpings of the lamb dish that lay there. What really rocked were the shawarma and the eggplant. And despite appearances, this was a very very filling meal. It's probably a good idea to take a break from this strain of cuisine for a while, lest it affect my opinions. And I'd like to come back when there's no belly dancing. If I ever wanted to catch belly dancing, I'd prefer to make that a full-time event in its own respect with nothing else to clutter the programme.

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