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“What a disappointment...”
Review of Al Bustan

Al Bustan
Ranked #8,059 of 14,913 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 30 June 2017 via mobile

It may be that I am simply jaded having spent many years in London and the Middle East enjoying the best Lebanese food in the world. Or, it could simply be that this place is vastly overrated. I'll go with the latter. The humous was like runny oatmeal but more flavorless. The lamb was good and flavorful but the chicken shawarma was like fajita meat, not shawarma at all. The pita, the most important element, looked like it was store bought and not even warmed. The kibbeh was not hot and a bit hard to chew. I could go on but you get the drift.

One would think NYC would have proper Lebanese - no far no luck. Do yourself a favor and pass on this place. You'll be glad you did.

Thank mtjllc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 93 reviews

Reviewed 15 June 2017 via mobile

We were excited to try Al Bustan as we've passed the elegant dining room hundreds of times, intrigued by the stunning chandeliers and Lebanese menu. We finally had dinner there on a Wednesday night at 8:30 PM. The dining room was quite crowded and there seemed to be a large gathering in the back of the lovely dining room. The restaurant was understaffed and we waited a long time (too long) between courses. After the appetizers were served, we did not see our waiter again for quite some time. The eggplant appetizer ( Moussakaa) was an extremely tasty stewed eggplant . The falafel was good and the other two appetizers were mediocre at best. (the grilled cheese was rubbery and not tasty and the spinach stuffed fried appetizer was not as good as the falafel). After appetizers, we waited so very, very, very long to order entrees that we decided to skip the main courses and order dessert and coffee and call it a night. The dessert (baklava) and Turkish coffee were, again, mediocre.
Perhaps this was an off night for Al Bustan. It was extremely crowded, there was a private, large gathering, and they seemed woefully understaffed. It also appeared as if the staff had family/ friends dining in the restaurant, which, while lovely, clearly distracted the staff from the patrons.
Because Al Bustan's dining room is so pretty, because the menu is so appealing (with vegan, vegetarian and meat options) we will try it again in a few months. Most importantly, we had high hopes for this restaurant and are disappointed in the meal and the service..... yet the menu and dining room are just too appealing not to
give it a second chance.

Thank robink62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2017 via mobile

Al Bustan is just a fraction short of being top quality but it's still a really decent meal.

Lovely flavours, generous portions and a nice - if a little under populated - dining room.

We were also lucky to have an exceptionally pleasant waiter. He was Mauritanian from memory, but I forget his name. Unusually nice guy.

Thank Jamie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 February 2017

We went for Valentine's Day dinner but other than the back half of the upstairs being reserved for a private party (which was great to enjoy the music of) it was any other night at the restaurant. The waiter and chef did a very good job catering to two vegans - of course it helps starting with a cuisine that has several options to begin with that are either vegan or easily modified to be vegan. The atmosphere was an elegant mix of exposed brick walls but very nice decorations and color palate. There is a separately available bar and large area downstairs that I assume they would also rent out for private events, and the staff was great to deal with.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Gabriel S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2017 via mobile

TERRIBLE service. Made reservation for 9:45 PM on OpenTable. I called them at 9:35 saying I will be 10-15 minutes late due to city traffic around the holidays time. The man on the phone says the kitchen will be closed when I get there. However, OpenTable had a time slot for 10:00 PM so I know their kitchen is open till at least 10:00pm. When I mentioned this, the man on the phone says "I don't work for you sorry". I ignored this. Half of my party arrived on time and the staff refused to take their order for the table until I called again and kindly asked that they be served while we are on our way, to which I received a very rude response. At this point, the gentlemen did not want to serve more than half the menu so we were stuck with food we did not want. The man on the phone (which we realized is a manager when we got there) then went to sleep with his shoes OFF his feet in this "excellent" restaurant while customers are still eating (see photos). Overall, the food was okay but seemed old. Not worth the terrible service.

Thank PartyofShah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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