I got excited until I saw Chocolate Falafel on the menu. I love my falafels and chocolates but I want them to have as much distance as possible from each other. Also surprised to see "Yemenite Curry" again as we've seen at Balaboosta. Like very light thai curry
The good news is that Schug, that Yemeni hot pepper sauce is spelled correctly here. Taim still spells it S'rug for some reason.
just had dinner here and figured id share my thoughts.
had my table for 2 available with no wait or hesitation at 8 on a saturday night which i didn't expect considering the buzz of the place. didnt really check out the whole restaurant but it seemed small and intimate...low ceilings as well.
server was nice and competent enough but not entirely the most sophisticated. then again, id take competent over sophisticated any day. food came out with a decent frequency until mid-meal where there seemed to be a lull.
as for the food:
jerusalem bagel with za'tar...nice...good even...but it should've been comped...would've been a nice gesture to guests. olive oil was excellent and the bagel was warm and light.
artichokes with pistachios...good...nothing mind blowing but a nice dish overall.
asparagus wrapped in ramps with lemon...a special and rather tasty. despite the hype, it's nice to eat ramps and the dish was enjoyable.
beef cheek tagine...small portion but it was rich and actually quite delicious. fatty but in a good way and the spices were nice. probably the first dish that made me feel like i was eating some version of middle eastern food.
hand torn pasta...comforting portion of noodles with pepper flakes and spices...not entirely rocket science but tasty.
overall, i had very, very low expectations for this place and was pleasantly surprised by my meal. cant see making this a regular spot for me and the value proposition surely isnt there but it was enjoyable.
5 plates...and a corkage charge came to $105-110 before tip.
i went to dinner seeing the initial reviews and tried to avoid anything that screamed of 'ripoff.' i saw the couple next to us order the chocolate falafel and it looked rather puny and sad.
worth noting that there did seem to have maybe 15-20% empty tables by 9-930pm which i was surprised about considering how much buzz the place has received.
Enjoyed this one. Nice looking space with plenty of light, a little tight. Einat Admony's pink vespa wasnt there which means she wasnt there. Strange considering its a crucial critic time window, but I understand the need to be at Balaboosta.
Plates are mostly on the small side. We ordered 6 dishes + 2 desserts for the 2 of us and I felt that it was the right amount of food but $180 (after tip) was on the pricier side IMO. Plates started rolling out at a furious pace. We got the first 4 dishes fairly quickly including some at the same time (we were there no more than 20 mins I think) And I had to ask them to slow down.
The Jerusalem Bagel with Za-atar spices on the side was nice and fresh but I completely agree that it would have been a nice gesture to have something like this for no charge. I'm seeing a huge "pay for the bread" trend as of late however
The baby artichoke was good. Plenty of nut/spice action. The "Everyday Cauliflower" was on the dry side with very little tahini at the bottom and tasted more like.. well... everyday cauliflower. Prefer the Balaboosta version. The Zabzi Tagine was by far the best thing we ate. Incredibly aromatic and flavor packed, super tender beef cheeks with homemade couscous.
Four plump, expertly cooked Shrimp with Yemenite curry and a touch of spicy Schug was quite good. For the first time ever I think I corrected a waiter on the proper pronunciation of something on the menu (S'chug). Fresh Pasta with ricotta was simple, peppery and quite delicious. Somewhere between Taglietelle and Pappardelle
No Chocolate Falafel on the dessert menu last night (probably a good thing) but enjoyed a nice Malabi, (the Israeli Panna Cotta), and an even better Halva Creme Brulee. Like the Silan at Taboon its all about the shredded Halva taking this to the next level. I must say her desserts are top notch.
Pricy but very good meal overall
I enjoyed my meal here.
Sat at the bar, had the Jerusalem bagel and the beef cheeks. Washed it all down with fancy-shmancy version of the Sazerac.
The beef cheek may be one of the best renditions of this dish I've had in a while. Perfectly spiced and season, tender without being mushy. Bagel was good but probably superfluous as the couscous that came with the beef cheeks was carb enough for me.
All in all, good meal, but a tad pricey.
I had dinner there last night. Nice, small space. A few issues: 1. If you want to look out the window to see Hudson St., you'll be looking at a bus, most of the time. They come off-service, and park there, ruining the view of the park and the street. 2. They had to pull a few tables out, next to the bar on the Hudson St. side. I'm not sure why, but it had to do with zoning or permits. So their capacity, which started out low, is even lower. That didn't translate to faster production out of the kitchen, which was quite slow. On the other hand, our Fattush salad was terrific, with a perfect balance of lemon, mint, feta, and perfect baby arugula. Our asparagus was very well prepared, and the grilled scallions and citric cream balanced extremely well. The dorade was perfectly cooked and well-seasoned, and the kale and onion garnish was also tasty and well-prepared. Prices are a tad high, but the flavors and textures were very, very good. On the whole, Balaboosta is a better place to have dinner. But it's a nice neighborhood restaurant with some atypical flavors. Einat Admony has a very good palate.
i went to balaboosta for the first time only 2-3 weeks after my bar bolonat dinner. i felt like balaboosta was fine but nothing remarkable. like, id consider going to balaboosta in the same way that id go to parm...itll be on my casual rotation.
but bar bolonat just doesnt do enough to justify its price.