The ongoing love affair between Brooklyn and Paris continues this month with the Williamsburg opening of a sister restaurant to Paris’s Algerian bistro Chez Omar.
Bar Omar, serving many of the same dishes as its Parisian sibling, set up shop at 188 Grand Street in Williamsburg — almost exactly 40 years after Algerian-born Omar Guerda opened the doors of the original.
A revolutionary restaurant, Chez Omar brought North African flavors to Paris in the ’70s during a time of political tension following the Algerian War of Independence.
Now, Omar’s daughter Yasmina — a Brooklyn resident for nearly a decade — and her husband Aaron Lee, are bringing the Guerda family’s Algerian and Moroccan recipes across the Atlantic. The new location will serve up the same fare as its French counterpart while offering a localized, Brooklyn ambience.
Highlights from the menu are the couscous royal ($27), homemade merguez sausage ($14), organic lamb tagine sourced from the upstate Finger Lakes with prunes and almonds for two ($39), and a variety of house cocktails including the Marg’harissa — mescal, tequila, triple sec and harissa — and the Omartini — gin, aperol, carpano antica and orange bitters.
Bar Omar is open weekdays from 4 p.m. to midnight and weekends from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
While Bar Omar is quite unique with its mix of Algerian, Moroccan and French tastes, it will not be the only place to get couscous and tagine in the ‘Burg. Wythe Avenue is home to the Brooklyn outpost of popular East Village spot Cafe Mogador, though its menu is influenced by Israeli cuisine as well as Moroccan and French.
The community is clearly hungry for this cuisine, taking special interest in Bar Omar’s French roots. “In just 10 days of being open we’ve had a lot of French customers already,” Yasmina Guerda told Brownstoner in an email, noting that a many of Bar Omar’s patrons “were faithful customers of the ‘mother ship’ Chez Omar in Paris.”
Guerda further reflected on the area’s French expat community, noting that it has practically “taken over Brooklyn, and in particular Williamsburg” in the past six years. “You can hardly walk out without hearing French spoken at every corner,” she said.
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