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Chicken Shish Taouk
October 27, 2008

Naya Mezze and Grill

Chicken Shish Taouk

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

The décor of Naya Mezze and Grill is ultra modern, almost futuristic. But Naya doesn’t just rely on looks. There’s a lot of talent and soul in their food. Every dish presented at our table was a delight to taste. And each time I surveyed the orders at the other booths, I wanted to try those dishes, too.

The climax was surely the chicken shish taouk entrée. It’s grilled chicken breast (served off the skewers) marinated in garlic and lemon and served with garlic sauce and French fries, but I always ask to have the Lebanese rice instead of fries. You might be thinking that of all grilled meats, why chicken? Especially when there’s the choice of lamb. Well, I did try the kafta kebab, but believe me, the chicken shish taouk blows everything out of the water. Just thinking about these tender and juicy pieces of chicken, my mouth starts to water. The garlic sauce, toum, is the Lebanese aioli, a blend of fresh garlic, olive oil, eggs and salt. It’s so delicious that I ended up adding it to everything. Lebanese rice that’s laced with vermicelli pairs perfectly with the chicken. Both the rice and vermicelli are cooked in butter, which gives it a lush buttery taste. Oh, and of course, I add the garlic sauce to the rice, too.

Now I’m hopelessly addicted to the elegant homestyle Lebanese cooking of Naya. Plus I look forward to seeing Sara, our congenial waitress with the loveliest smile that adds to the most pleasant of meals.

Naya Mezze and Grill

1057 2nd Ave
New York, NY
Midtown East