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“COCKROACHES. PLURAL.”
Review of Al Bustan

Al Bustan
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Ranked #9,604 of 14,208 Restaurants in New York City
Price range: USD 31 - USD 35
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Groups
Dining options: After-hours, Delivery, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighbourhood: Midtown
Cross street: Between 1st and 2nd Avenues
Transit: E & V trains to 53rd Street.
Reviewed 3 October 2016

COCKROACHES UNDER OUR TABLE. Yes, you read that right- and yes, it was plural.

We started the night with high hopes, as we saw this restaurant on Michelin's Bib Gourmand list. Unfortunately, our hopes were the only high point of this experience.

We made reservations for 8:15, and showed up within the minute. Not only were we not greeted, but we were ignored for over five minutes. During this time, we witnessed children (I'm assuming of the owner) running around the restaurant screaming, touching all of the silverware.

Eventually we were seated. Food was decent. The waiter never refilled our water during the entire dinner- after waiting for 10 minutes after we ran out of beverage, we eventually had to go to the waiter's station and take a pitcher of water for ourselves. Meanwhile, a table of drunk women were relentlessly accosting other guests to buy their makeup products. All of that could have been overlooked, until...

Cockroaches. One of the screaming kids (who never stopped screaming) ran by our table, pointed, and yelled "Spider!" It was a small cockroach about 1 inch long, and all the waiters started stating, "Oh! A spider!" as they rushed to stomp it. We gave them the benefit of the doubt, bugs happen. And then, the mother of all cockroaches, roughly the length of my pinky finger (not including the antennae) crawls underneath our table. As we bolt up from the table two waiters come over and quickly stomp it. No one offers to compensate our bill, no one apologizes.

Shame on you, Al Bustan. Your lack of costumers is a clear consequence of your lack of integrity as a restaurant.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MrBirky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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11 - 15 of 88 reviews

Reviewed 19 September 2016 via mobile

Found this gem last week in NYC. They had some very authentic food including several choices of Kibbeh. We chose (see pics) the Kibbeh Nayyeh which was lamb here (most places I go it's beef). It was fresh and served with plenty of onion and mint. Quite refreshing and just melted in my mouth. I had the quail for my main course and it was the perfect blend of grilled but finished off with their apricot sauté.

Will make this my go to whenever I'm in NYC!

Thank rbonis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2016

Tried this restaurant for a taste of Mid East or specifically Lebanese food. They offered a "quick lunch" which suited by time parameter. Very nice. Too much food! Liked the appetizer varieties0 a green salad, babaganouche, humus and some other red item, plus fallafal.Tasty. Meal itself, a skewered beef with veggies and rice, was more than I could handle. Dessert was three little items, the best a custard with rose water flavor. Added an espresso. Fine. Excuse spelling errors- spellcheck not functional.

    • Value
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Thank Anise2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2016 via mobile

From my experience with this restaurant, the staff are cheating their customers by forcing unreasonable tips in the receipts. The food is so expensive and does not worth the set prices. Also, the staff and manager of the restaurant were so unfriendly when we started discussing the forced tips. So, I encourage everyone to avoid this restaurant.

1  Thank Omar A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 May 2016

I was at Al Bustan earlier this week. We had a noon appointment and got there a little early. So I called and spoke to an old'ish gentleman who came over and let us in and seated us immediately.

We ordered a glass of the house Lebanese wine, clearly that wine had been 'breathing' a while. Not quite rancid but certainly not something I'd serve.

We also ordered the Chankleesh as an appetizer. Not something I've ever eaten before but it was light and tasty. We thought we were off to a good start.

For main courses, I noticed a whole number of shawarma's and I thought I'd break my vegetarian diet and try the chicken shawarma. Now, when you go to this kind of authentic lebanese restaurant in NYC, when you say shawarma, you expect shawarma. Even a hawker on the street has a spit and is making legitimate shawarma.

But not Al-Bustan. They make their shawarma the other way; store bought minced chicken cooked on a hot top. What a scam.

They call that "Shawarma Dajaj"; Sliced chicken marinated in white vinegar, ginger and spice $22.00

And it is served with a half tomato, a pickle and a lettuce leaf for decoration. That's about the most peculiar presentation I've ever seen.

And then for the kicker, we get the check and notice that it is a bit higher than it ought to be. Well, the server decided he'd tack on a 20% tip for himself; for a party of 2. Nothing about this on the menu, and even in places where they do this, they don't do 20%, usually 15%.

If I hadn't noticed, or it was a larger group, he'd have pocketed an extra $20.

Service was quite bad (except that they let us in early). They took our order and that's the last I saw of the wait staff. It wasn't like they were busy; one group of 4 and one group of 2 other than us in the restaurant.

On the whole, avoidable and the 'extra tip' is disgusting.

    • Value
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    • Food
1  Thank Amrith K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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