Mazeish Grill on the Lower East Side has kicked off a dinner series to help refugees, but it’s not going to a relief group or a nonprofit that donates to a cause. Proceeds go directly to the refugee who’s making dinner.
Mazeish owner Nas Jab started the Displaced Dinners pop-up this month to help recently arrived adults from war-torn countries who are struggling to find work and get settled — legally, with the help of the United Nations International Organization for Migration.
Since dinners are limited to ten people, they’re also a way for these new residents to connect with New Yorkers and start building a community. It’s $65 per person, some of which goes toward the cost of ingredients and the rest goes to the cook. “We want to help refugees get on their feet,” he says.
The first series is a Syrian meal from a man who left his country in 2005 for Bahrain, fled to Dubai, and landed in Egypt, where he eventually interviewed under highly stressful circumstances for a year before he was sponsored by the U.N. Lutfi, who’s been here for three months, has clearly grown up cooking and it shows. “I find it relaxing,” he says.
In addition to salad, he makes batata harra, kibbe, and makloube — the rice dish with lamb, eggplant, and tomato. Dessert is included, but dinner is BYOB. Check the website for info and availability.