August 23, 2009
Al-Safa (Bab Al-hara) Restaurant
960 Main Street, Paterson NJ 07503
Web Site: http://babalharapaterson.com/
In a previous post about the very excellent Al Basha Palestinian restaurant, I spoke a bit about the Middle-Eastern community on Main Street in South Paterson, which my friend Victor Sasson likes to refer to as “Little Damascus”, due to the large population of Syrian-owned businesses there.
My forays into South Paterson have been limited, mainly due to my general lack of familiarity with the Arabic language. I’ve certainly eaten a ton of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, primarily Israeli, Greek, Lebanese and Turkish, but in the Bergen County area. For lack of a politically correct way of saying it, being a Jew and someone of clear Semitic ethnic origin by general physical appearance and given the current geopolitical climate, historically I would tend to not venture into a predominantly Arabic-speaking area of New Jersey for shopping and eating purposes.
However, I’ve been exploring the area much more lately — for reasons entirely unrelated to food. Paterson is also home to a large retail outlet of Micro Center, a gigantic computer parts store, one of the few places in New Jersey you can still walk in and buy actual PC components. It used to be that we had CompUSA and many independent retail computer shops, but now they are mostly extinct, destroyed by companies such as Amazon and Tigerdirect who can undercut them on price and volume. Such is the way of the new economy.
So if I’m going to schlep down to Paterson (actually, it’s really only about 30 minutes from where I live, as long as traffic cooperates) I might as well get some stuff to eat. I brushed up on my basic Arabic and went exploring. After living in the Northern NJ area for nearly 20 years, I now wish I had done this years ago.
Al-Safa Storefront on Main Street in Paterson.
Looking for Kebabs and Schwarma? Eat like a Sheikh in Paterson.
Read the rest of this entry »
22 Comments | Food, General, New Jersey | Tagged: Arabic language, Bab Alhara Restaurant, Döner kebab, Middle East, Middle Eastern, New Jersey, Olive oil, Paterson New Jersey, Syrian Jews | Permalink
Posted by offthebroiler
August 18, 2009
Babylon Mediterranean Restaurant
606 Kinderkamack Road
River Edge, NJ
In August of 2006, Babylon, one of our favorite Turkish/Middle Eastern restaurants was forced to close when its lease was not renewed along with several other stores in the ill-fated Huffman-Koos shopping center in River Edge. Needless to say, I was totally bummed out by this development — not only was Babylon a great dining value but it also made some of the best Turkish and Middle-Eastern food that you could find in Bergen County. To get anything comparable, you had to go to Patterson or Union City. While we still had Kervan in Cliffside Park (a restaurant that has seen better days, its hardcore Turkish crowd long gone) and Samdan in Cresskill (admittedly solid Turkish place, but just didn’t have the precise atmosphere or taste I was looking for) they just weren’t the same — Babylon’s doner and other kebabs were made fresh from scratch daily, and had a definitively home made flavor that couldn’t easily be duplicated.
However, all was not lost. In Late March of 2007, Babylon re-opened only about a mile away from its original location, on Kinderkamack Road on the site of Shanghai Restaurant, which had closed six months before. The owners completely renovated the interior, and now Babylon, menu unchanged, with prices more or less the same, is back and better than ever.
Babylon storefront on Kinderkamack Road in River Edge
Babylon returns! Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more. Read the rest of this entry »
11 Comments | Food, General, New Jersey | Tagged: Bergen County, Bergen County New Jersey, Beyti Kebab, cooking, Döner kebab, Home, Kebab, Middle East, Middle Eastern, New Jersey, sandwiches, Tomato sauce | Permalink
Posted by offthebroiler