Thursday, December 22, 2011

New York Jazz Club Reviews - Part 3

Cleopatra’s Needle – This club was recommended to us by my contact at McGraw-Hill, where I review business books for them. (You can check out my blog at She sent me three possibilities, and while Mrs. S was at her concert on Thursday, only staying for the Joshua Bell portion, she told me to pick a restaurant/Jazz club and make the reservations. The plan was for me to meet her at intermission and we would then go to the club for dinner and music. While any of the clubs would probably have been fine, I went for the one that was most convenient to the subway where we’d be and that looked casual and relaxing. (Seriously, who would go to a jazz club that makes you wear a jacket?) It turned out to be an inspired choice. First of all, Mrs. S and I had been talking about getting Greek food while we were in NY. Of course, we don’t have any ideas about where any Greek restaurants are, much less whether they are any good or not. But when we sat down at our comfortable, window-side corner table, the first thing Mrs. S noticed was the menu said “Mediterranean Cuisine”. Jackpot! Turns out the place is authentic and run by an Egyptian who’d been there a number of years and is a jazz fanatic. They had a full bar, intimate but not overcrowded tables, and a piano trio playing there.  We ordered up Moussaka and Kofta Kebab and Tambouleh, with a bottle of decent red wine and the best damned baklava on this continent. Here's me and the food:

Clockwise from closest dish to me: Kofta Kebab, Tambouleh, Moussaka (kind of cut off).
 The music was great, very vibrant and close. The pianist was an older guy and the drummer and bassist were two younger guys, and I assume Burt Eckoff is the piano player, as that was the name of the trio. They kept it swinging. 

The Burt Eckoff Trio at Cleopatra's Needle.
The food was wonderful, probably as good a Mediterranean as you could get anywhere in New York. In many ways, our time at Cleo’s was one of the best, and the meal was one of the best, making this a sure highlight of our trip. It helped that we had good weather that day but regardless, we would definitely go back there any time.

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