Our Man Sietsema: '(Gasp!) Balsamic Vinegar'

Our Man has brought us another gastronomic history lesson this week, and a review of First Oasis, a restaurant that "reflects [the Middle Eastern] culinary diaspora is First Oasis on Fourth Avenue, which offers a slightly different (and maybe more assimilated) take on Syrian food than the excellent, more traditional Damascus Gate."

At First Oasis, Sietsema approves of the addition of balsamic vinegar in a fatoosh salad, but not the skimpiness of the crunchy bits of pita. The hummus beats the baba ganoush, the lamb "scores a touchdown" (kebabs and, even better is the ouzi). But when it comes to the raw lamb kebbeh balls, which Sietsema loved most the next day, when he cooked them at home like burgers.

First Oasis 9218 Fourth Avenue Bay Ridge (718) 238-4505

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