Until now, there has always been one reason to go to Murray Hill: the vaunted Moroccan restaurant BarbÃ¨s. Bad news, Murray Hill: thanks to Babouche, you suck anew.
Babouche is Barbes' little brother -- but much like Stephen Baldwin ultimately proved an even more accomplished Bio-Dome resident/anti-porn crusader than Alec, Babouche promises to surpass its sibling's greatness. The entrance is equal parts grand and oddly covert: ceiling-high double doors in the back of frilly toiletry store L'Occitane. Inside, you find a loungey first floor atrium marked by ottomans and latticed arches -- ideal for casually taking down small plates/large drinks. Upstairs is an airy dining room, where you can impress a date by bashfully admitting that you're a sucker for Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca (when you actually mean Brigitte Nielsen in Red Sonja).
A sampling of the chow: