Ali Baba is located on 15th Street in Troy. It's a small, family owned, Mediterranean style restaurant with a very minimalist decor. I'd heard a lot about this restaurant, so I dragged a friend with me. He already knew about the place and loved the food. In fact, he was surprised I hadn't been. He also threatened me with imminent death if I went anywhere near his lavash bread...
I arrived early, and was seated. The woman looked at me quite strangely, and to this day I'm not sure why. The place was pretty empty, there was only one other occupied table at the time.
My dining companion entered, and we struck a deal on the lavash bread situation. I ordered a starter of 5 of their dips in a mixed plate, which comes with Lavash Bread. Ordering my entree was more difficult. See, their restaurant menu is all pictures. No details on the ingredients. Meanwhile, their online PDF menu lists the ingredients. So, there I was with my smartphone, matching the online menu with the restaurant menu by matching the titles. Meanwhile, my dining companion chided me for not just asking questions. To be honest, I was afraid of a language barrier, and simply decided to take matters into my own hands.
I settled on the Lamb Iskender, which is a yogurt marinated lamb, topped with a tomato sauce. My friend ordered a curry dish (I can't recall if it was beef or lamb).
Our meals were out promptly. I will say that I found a few of the dips to be lacking in salt. The Hummus should have had a more pronounced lemon and salt flavor than it did, but the yogurt sauce that comes with the Lavash Bread was divine.
My Lamb Iskender was very good. At first, I thought there was a lack of seasoning in the dish, even given the yogurt marinade and tomato sauce. Then, I discovered there was additional yogurt sauce beneath the lamb itself. This wasn't mentioned on their menu, but it provided the extra flavor the dish needed. The texture of the meat was also very good, if a little overcooked for my particular taste.
Overall, I give Ali Baba a solid 4 forks. The dish I had, had great flavor, but I felt the dips needed work. I'm also not a fan of having to do investigative work in order to figure out what I might be ordering, only to still be surprised by ingredients in the dish that weren't on the menu. Still ... I would return.
|Lamb Iskender||Curry Dish|
|Lavash Bread||Mixed Plate of Dips|