Le Souk Harem, on La Guardia Place by Bleeker, is the mature adult that’s grown up from its alcohol-fueled, hyper-active college days back on Avenue B (the old location that has since closed).
The Harem version still has everything you know and loved or hated but secretly loved from Avenue B, including strong drinks, plush cushions, pounding beats and narrow rooms that were so dark you could trip into someone’s mouth for a sloppy makeout session. But Harem’s now a helluva lot classier. Classy enough to take a gal out for dinner and drinks there; promising a sultry and exotic escape from the normal Manhattan mundane.
Go before the bar-revelers take over post midnight, say like 10pm, and enjoy a late dinner of modern French-American food. Don’t bother straining your eyes in the dim light, when you can just trust the waiter to order for you.
On Friday, I sampled several dishes while cozying up to my boy on the cushioned benches and watching the belly dancer shimmy her way around. In the appetizers, the Langue de Boeuf, won points for the tenderness of the thinly sliced poached beef tongue, but the simplicity of the chickpea salad on the side was a bit bland. The Le Marquereau of charred mackerel, crisp pear with all-space sweet potato coulis was wonderfully refreshing and creative.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Pasteque et Fromage, a salad of watermelon, demati cheese and olives, as the watermelon was deliciously fresh. For the entrees, we shared the Markfoul, slow braised beef ribs with carmelized onions and tomatoes and the Pagre Rouge, roasted red snapper, potatoes, onions peppers, and Moroccan spices. The appetizers trumped the entrees, so my advice is to focus on several small plates.
Then you and your date can choose whether to stick around for the late-night revelry after…