I was looking for a place to take a group of 6 last night, and L'Orange Bleue was nearby and still had spots open for dinner. My group was a mixed crowd looking for a number of things from the evening: exotic food, good music, a NY experience (there were some tourists in the bunch), a good place to gather with friends, etc. L'Orange Bleue ended up being the perfect choice.
Just so we're clear, this is not a quiet little family establishment. The place gets loud and rowdy and there is dancing and pulsing Arabic pop. There were several birthdays in the restaurant last night, and each one was feted with live sparklers, cheers, music, and some special attention from one of the handsome male employees. A belly dancer made an appearance and focused on one person from each table, drawing them onto the dance floor with her flying hips and long red scarf. The music was loud, the lights were dim, and atmosphere was nothing but festive. If you're up for that kind of thing, this is a great place on a weekend night. We were all dancing in our chairs as we ate.
Everyone was very pleased with their meal, and between the 6 of us we tried a nice variety of the menu. I had a salad and spicy pasta with meatballs and vegetables, which was excellent. One friend had the spinach crepe, which was lovely and fluffy and came with a wonderful light tomato sauce. Another friend was very pleased with his shrimp. The show-stoppers were the tagines -- everyone who ordered food cooked in these traditional little Moroccan ovens raved about their dish. I tried a bit of my friend's lamb tagine -- the meat was unbelievably tender and the tiny couscous was the best I've had. We all shared pitchers of decent sangria (nothing special, but not terrible either) and had a perfectly respectable creme brulee for dessert.
Overall, everyone in my group of 6 had a great time and a meal they enjoyed, which is a rare feat, especially in NYC. If you're up for a fun evening (especially a birthday), I'd give L'Orange Bleue a shot.
Note: Amex and CASH ONLY.