NYC Restaurants

Casa La Femme North
1076 First Ave (at 59th St.)
New York, NY, 10022
(212) 505-0005 Map

Cuisine: Middle Eastern , Egyptian

Menu:   View the Menu

Reader Ratings:

Cititour Review:
Casa La Femme was practically an institution in SoHo, so it was quite shocking when the restaurant closed its doors last fall after a dozen years. Happily, the owners literally packed their tents and moved uptown to the getting-trendier-by-the-minute area right by the Queensboro bridge. Casa La Femme North, as the new spot is called (and there will soon be a Casa La Femme South) is a less grand but even more charming space than its predecessor. This house is decorated in the Moroccan/Egyptian style, complete with those adorable tented seating areas and large circular banquettes throughout the room.

The menu has shifted slightly too, with a new emphasis on Northern Egyptian cuisine.

You are encouraged to start with a mazza or two, dips such as nicely creamy hummus accented by a swirl of spicy harissa. Appetizer portions are relatively petite, so you can do some sampling. Salata Tamatem, sweet grape tomatoes dressed with gibnah domaty, a soft Egyptian cheese, is sparklingly refreshing. Crabmeat kofta, a pair of small cakes full of blue crab and minced shrimp, are very tasty, as are the goulash bil gibnah, a quarter of turnovers stuffed with a highly flavorful mix of mushrooms and leeks.

Entrees focus on simple preparations using first-rate ingredients, including a spectacular grilled whole sea bass or a sextet of equally yummy grilled prawns, still in their shell. Side dishes are extras, most of which are rice-based. I was particularly enthralled with fatta, a mélange of sautéed rice and bread with a touch of garlic that could even make a nice meal on its own.

Desserts are limited, and essentially skippable; you might prefer to end the meal simply by sipping homemade mint tea or Turkish coffee, or indulging in an "Arabian Night," a martini-like cocktail made with chocolate-infused vodka and Godiva liqueur.

Prices here are quite reasonable, with the mazzas and appetizers in the $6-$10 range, and the majority of entrees under $20. (The exceptions are filet mignon at $25.50 and a whole red snapper which tops the chart at $32.50). But cocktails and wines are quite steep, so you may want a designated drinker just to keep the check under control.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: East 50s

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