Ya Hala, whose name is an Arabic expression for �welcome,� is a casual place where the greeting couldn�t be warmer, typical of the region�s vaunted hospitality. It your wait is lengthy, as ours was on a recent mobbed weekend, an adjacent well-stocked Middle East grocery store will keep you fascinated. Among the cold appetizers, try the makdous, tiny eggplants stuffed with walnuts, garlic and chilies and marinated in olive oil�their sensuous skins slide easily down the throat. Among the hot mezza, the sambousak are glorious little crescent pies filled with ground beef and pine nuts and deep-fried to a delicious crisp. There are numerous grills and stews, but the �signature� entrees stand out, and the famed kibbeh, a sort of glorified meatball, receives fine treatment here. (Originally reviewed 4/27/05.)