5 cool things you might not know about couscous

5 cool things you might not know about couscous

The basis of nutrition in North-Africa, Mauritania, and parts of the Middle-East, couscous has also become a favorite in Western Europe, especially France in the past few decades. 

Here are 5 things you might not know about couscous:

  1. Couscous is the French's third favorite dish. That's according to two surveys made in 2011 and 2013. (Source)

  2. The name comes from Berber languages. In Kabylian, a language spoken majoritarily in Algeria, the word "imkeskes" means "well formed" or "well rounded". (Source)

  3. Couscous is not a grain!
    There's no "couscous plant"... It's actually more like paste: a mixture of flours and water. The traditional way of preparing couscous is by steaming it in a special pot called "couscoussier". Boiling it is considered a bit of heresy!

  4. It's not a side, it's the centerpiece!
    In North Africa, at the dinner table on Friday evenings, the entire family gathers around a big plate of couscous with sides of vegetables and meats. 
     
  5. Couscous is quite healthy. One cup of cooked couscous has 176 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. It’s fat-free, contains no cholesterol, and about 66% of the recommended daily dose of selenium, which is an important anti-oxidant. And when you factor in the fiber and vitamins from the veggies, and the added protein from the meats, you got yourself a really well-rounded meal that will keep you going for hours! (Source)

It's the story of a French-Moroccan artiste...

It's the story of a French-Moroccan artiste...

Bar Omar supports creativity in all its forms, especially art that depicts the realities of our complex societies.  And so we are proud to support a fantastic play by Georgette Kelly titled 'F*ck la vie d'artiste'. 

Zenab is an aspiring French-Moroccan artist, stuck giving tours of the room where Vincent Van Gogh died. When Vincent’s ghost begins to speak to her, she finds herself torn between her art and Avery, the American woman she’s fallen in love with. Meanwhile, riots explode near Paris after two young men of color are killed in a police chase. Zenab joins the riots, easel in hand, to paint her own version of France—one that digs deeper than the postcard-perfect veneer sold to tourists.

This story is inspired by Bouna Traoré, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, two teens who died electrocuted as they were fleeing the police. Symbol of the tense relationship and mistrust between police and youths, their deaths sparked weeks of sustained rioting across France in 2005. 

The play will run from July 26 to July 30th, at Theater 54 @ Shetler Studios.

And bonus! As a Bar Omar customer, you get $5 off your ticket, by using the code FVAFRIEND.

>>> Find out more and buy tickets: eccentrictheatercompany.com/fva

 

 

Bringing Couscous from Algeria to Brooklyn via Paris

Bringing Couscous from Algeria to Brooklyn via Paris

By Melody Chan, France-Amerique Magazine

"When studying journalism at Columbia University, Aaron Lee never imagined he would become, in his wife’s words, “a Southwest Georgia boy who’s now the king of couscous in New York.” However, just a few years later, he owns and operates Bar Omar in Williamsburg, a dimly-lit restaurant in Brooklyn with a menu famous for its French-Algerian couscous and tagines.

Bar Omar owner Aaron Lee (right) and French-Algerian chef Pierre Rougey. © Melody Cha

The restaurant was started to replicate its parent location in Paris, Chez Omar. The French joint was one of the first to introduce North-African dishes to city-dwellers in the late 1970s and its founder and owner, Omar Guerda, is loved and remembered by many. Aaron Lee came into the family business when he married Omar’s daughter, Yasmina Guerda, after they met at Columbia University. The couple opened the New York location in February 2016, and now that Yasmina has stepped aside to work at the United Nations in Nigeria, Aaron is in charge of making sure the restaurant stays true to its Algerian and French roots. The aim of the restaurant is to give the much-loved Parisian brasserie a second home in the United States and the menu stays faithful to family-recipes passed down through the Guerdas for generations..."

>> Read the rest of the piece here... 
>> Also available in French

Bar Omar joins French Restaurant Week!

Bar Omar joins French Restaurant Week!

This year, Bar Omar is honored to participate in French Restaurant week. From July 3rd to July 16th, Bar Omar will be offering a $38 prix-fixe menu so you can explore our flavors on a budget.

Join us and: EAT. DRINK. BE FRENCH!

Check it out our prix-fixe menus for the occasion:

L'Etranger, French Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu

L'Etranger, French Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu

Le Parisien, French Restaurant Week prix-fixe menu

Bar Omar joins Negroni Week & fundraises for NYC's hungry

Bar Omar joins Negroni Week & fundraises for NYC's hungry

From 5 to 11 June, for the second year in a row, Bar Omar will be participating in Negroni Week and supporting the amazing non-profit City Harvest which works to end hunger in New York City. 

For this occasion, we have tweaked the original Negroni recipe to give it that little Mediterranean twist we're famous for: in addition to Dorothy Parker Gin, Campari, and Carpano Antico Sweet Vermouth, we add a bit of apricot syrup, and serve it with two dried apricots and an orange wedge. Springy and uplifting.

Come try one, and you'll want more! It's for a good cause: in addition to our original donation, all the proceeds of our special Negroni will be donated to City Harvest!

Celebrating moms at Bar Omar

Celebrating moms at Bar Omar

Most of us wouldn't be anywhere without them.... So tomorrow, for Mothers' Day, bring your mom to Bar Omar and make her feel extra-special. Her Prosecco or Mimosa will be on us! 

🌼🌷🌹🌺🌻

Bar Omar is launching a Happy Hour! 

Bar Omar is launching a Happy Hour! 

Monday through Friday, from 3 pm to 7 pm, we'll be having a happy hour. The deals will change every so often, including tasty food-and-drinks combos, and we'll keep you posted.

This will come in particularly handy the next time you have time to kill before you 6-ish pm movie!

Check out our drinks selection here

Plan your next big dinner party at Bar Omar

Plan your next big dinner party at Bar Omar

Couscous Royal for many!

Couscous Royal for many!

Did you know? Our space is really great for big parties, and our food-sharing model even better. In the past, we've hosted birthday celebrations, bachelorette dinners, art exhibit openings, office holiday parties, and even fundraisers. We work with every organizer and we tailor our menus and offerings according to every specific need, depending on the size of the party and the type of celebration. 

If you want more info:
- send an email to info@bar-omar.com
- or call +1 718 388 0411. 

3 new delicious dishes at Bar Omar

3 new delicious dishes at Bar Omar

For the past year, we've been working hard to round the edges of our menu and try to make sure that everyone would find something to satisfy their palates.

On our anniversary, we added four new dishes to the Couscous, Tagines and Mains sections, as well as a couple of new desserts. We're now proud to say our "official menu" is pretty much out. It doesn't mean we won't continue to evolve as we hear your feedback and we will strive to remain creative. with our selections But in the meantime, here's a little aperçu of the 3 new mains: 

1. Filet mignon with shallot and red wine sauce, Angus tenderloin, simple and classic

2. Fish Couscous, depending on what's fresh from the market, and served with our super-fine couscous, our good ole seven-vegetable bouillon and our unique homemade harissa. 

3. House Cheese Burger, where pretty much everything is homemade, from the brioche bun, to the beef patty and the pickles. Ok, we didn't grow the lettuce and the tomatoes ourselves, and we confess we also don't make the aged cheddar in-house. But the rest is 100% Bar Omar. 

Come try them for lunch or for dinner today!

Mr. Omar goes to Brooklyn

Mr. Omar goes to Brooklyn

Brooklynites, Monsieur Omar has made the trip from Paris to pay us a little visit one year after we opened. Stop by any day of the coming weeks if you want to meet him or catch up with him!

He should be in town until March 30.

A few ways you can support us

A few ways you can support us

We were warned. Repeatedly. Opening a restaurant in NY wouldn't be a walk in the park. But we didn't chicken out because we also knew how much fun it would be and how many interesting people we would get to meet. We feel incredibly lucky. In fact, many are so kind and enthusiastic about what we have to offer that many have asked how they could help get us off the ground in these first couple of years.

Well, there's a really easy/quick way. In this day and age, sharing your enthusiasm online can really help us big time... So here are 5 channels you can explore if you really like us and want to lend us a hand:-) :

 

From the whole team at Bar Omar, thank you for the incredible welcome you've given us during our first year. Onward and upward!

3 reasons to celebrate Bar Omar's 1st birthday

3 reasons to celebrate Bar Omar's 1st birthday

1 year candle on tagine.jpg

It's been a year of trying, testing, tasting, re-trying, improving, tweaking, adding, discarding, selecting... And now we are so excited to celebrate our first anniversary this February!

We spent these past twelve months adjusting our flavors, refining our products and, most importantly, listening to our customers. The challenge was to find the right balance between the simple tradition of my family’s Algerian dishes, the laid-back cachet of my dad’s brasserie in Paris, and the high expectations of the Brooklyn audience,” said Bar Omar co-owner, Yasmina Guerda.

So here's why you should join us on February 13, anytime from 4 pm to 11 pm:

  1. We're finally launching our official menu, with several new exciting dishes for you to choose from. We don't want to say too much, but rumor has it that, among the novelties, there will be a delicate fish couscous, an uplifting sunny-veggie tagine, and an ever so classic shallot-and-red-wine filet mignon.
  2. Complimentary Champagne toast for all!
  3. It's a Monday night, what else you gonna do?!

Email info@bar-omar.com to make a reservation or call 718 388 0411.

On Valentine's Day, it's all about sharing at Bar Omar

On February 14 2017, Bar Omar will reliably offer its regular à-la-carte menu.

But for those of you in a particularly romantic mood, we will also propose a prix-fixe menu titled We’ll Always Have Paris, a three-course dinner for two with a special house cocktail for the occasion ($119). 

  • Appetizer: Chicken Bastilla or Brick-au-thon, with a side of greens
  • Main: Couscous Royal or any Tagine for two, with a side of couscous and a side of veggies
  • Dessert: Arabian Delights (a selection of Maghrebian treats for two)
  • Cocktail: The North-Afrodisiac (Aperol, Amaro and Champagne-based).

Email info@bar-omar.com to make a reservation or call 718 388 0411.

Kiss the old year goodbye, Bar Omar style

Bar Omar is looking forward to celebrating the New Year with three Specials to please every palate. Each Special highlights the regular menu favorites and is composed with a careful selection of complementary flavors and subtle spice mélanges from North Africa and France. Everyone will receive a complimentary glass of Prosecco.

Our couscous makes Brooklyn Magazine's top 20 dishes of 2016

Big thanks to Brooklyn Magazine and Sarah Zorn for including our world famous couscous in their  20 (ummmm... 24) best 2016 dishes list: "sand-fine pebbles of semolina draped in an Algerian stew of chickpeas, tomatoes and squash." Truly an honor for us to be a part of this! 

Check it out: http://www.bkmag.com/2016/12/14/20-best-dishes-ok-make-24-ate-2016-brooklyn/

Fine couscous grain, with seven-vegetable bouillon, homemade merguez, and homemade harissa.

Fine couscous grain, with seven-vegetable bouillon, homemade merguez, and homemade harissa.

Bar Omar, winner in 3 "Best Of Brooklyn" categories!

A few weeks ago, we found out that Bar Omar was nominated in three categories in the Best of Brooklyn competition: Best Mediterranean Restaurant, Best African Restaurant, Best New Bar of The Year.

Today, we found out we won all three categories! There are no words to express our gratitude both for the nominations and for the wins. Brooklynites, we're so honored to have joined your family.

"A perfect bite": The New Yorker raves about Bar Omar

"An ideal meal starts with the bastilla, pulled chicken and almonds jammed into brik dough and fried until crispy, like a giant square spring roll. It’s topped with a thick layer of confectioner’s sugar, a touch that works so well you may recklessly wonder why more appetizers aren’t frosted.

For the main dishes, the bistro basics, especially the steak au poivre, are dependably good, and the couscous is filling. But the tagine (lamb, chicken, or kefta) is the showstopper. Portioned for two, it arrives in a tall clay vessel, clutched between napkins. The waiter pauses for dramatic effect before rolling off the lid, letting steam billow out. If you ordered the lamb, swollen prunes, fat apricots, and egg-shaped potatoes hug two giant shanks sunk in a still-bubbling broth; the prunes collapse into a sweet, jammy mess the second they’re touched. Shovel some of the fruit over meat pulled clean from the bone, add slivered almonds for crunch, and it’s a perfect bite.

Ending your meal with dessert is a must, and the crème brûlée is irreproachably classic. Shatter the shell of blistered sugar into pieces that look like stained glass and try not to smile."

A million thanks to Becky Cooper and to the New Yorker for this generous review.

>> Read the full article here.