Venue of the Week: Ilili

by Cristina Velocci
12.02.2007

Ilili
236 5th Ave
Btwn 27th & 28th Sts
212-683-2929

Straying from the usual falafel storefront, this upscale traditional Lebanese restaurant blends modern Mediterranean flavors from Egypt and Turkey with international sounds spinning from a DJ booth on weekend nights. The bi-level D.C. import, which means "tell me" in Lebanese, takes up residence in a loft-like space divided into four distinct areas: the downstairs lounge, whose red velvet banquettes are the first thing in sight once you walk past the hall-of-mirrors-entrance; the main dining room, separated from the lounge by geometric wooden panels intermittently filled with glass, mirrors or nothing at all; the smaller dining room upstairs reserved for private parties; and it's adjacent VIP lounge, a self-sufficient cube (with its own bathroom and dance floor) that overlooks the action below. Throughout it all, specialty cocktails, such as the Poison Sumac Margarita and From Beiruit With Passion, spice up the drink selection.

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