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This non-kosher Israeli café is prettily situated on the corner a few steps above the street, incongruously decorated with plastic flowers, African masks, and - weirdest of all - orangutans! Though the place is proud of its chicken schwarma, it's the hamburger we crave -- a hand-patted half pound, done to medium-rare and deposited on a good seeded bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and slender Israeli cucumber pickles. The eggplant salad is memorable, too, though a little sweet, while the potato-stuffed cylindrical bureks called "cigars" make very good snacks. In fine weather, the front of the restaurant opens to the bustling Lower East Side streets it borders.
You can imagine frame grabs from Nuri Bilge Ceylan's art noir Three Monkeys popping up in a Bordwellian film-studies textbook (or blog post). Observe the jack-in-the-box close-up (against deep-background action) for a politician hiding after a... More »
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