Monday, April 19, 2010


Raise your hand if you are a fan of Taim. If your hand isn't up, I'm guessing you just haven't had a chance to stop by the west village falafel joint - it's simply a must on my list and should be on yours too. Raise your hand if you had any idea that the owners of Taim have recently opened a full-size restaurant in Nolita. I'm guessing most hands have gone down now. Somehow, the Taim family pulled a fast one on me. I was shocked and then immediately thrilled to hear that their new restaurant Balaboosta was already in full motion by the time I had learned about it. I am not going to pretend like I am always in the know before each and every new restaurant opens up. But, when it's a personal favorite owner, I usually make it my business to know way too much about theirs! And, in the case of Taim, I had let this one slip right on by.

So what actually led me to Balaboosta last week? You will have to excuse me while I take a quick minute to "nerd out" in the blogging world. Besides absolutely loving discovering, eating at, and sharing new found restaurants, one of the best parts of blogging is the other bloggers. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but blogging really creates a community where you become acquainted with people and actually feel like you know them without (usually) ever meeting them. Well, I was lucky enough to finally meet Miss Meat and Potatoes - as we have both become regulars visiting each others blogs. I tell her where to eat and she tells me what to cook. Can you imagine a better food duo? We recently realized our close proximity to each other and finally made a night out of it. And the best part is, after a lot of back and forth about where we should go since both of our lists are endless, she was the one to suggest Balaboosta for dinner. It's as if we were old friends (I know her hand was certainly raised at the start of this post)!

Ok - enough with the joys of blogging and on to the food! Balaboosta is an extremely welcoming atmosphere both from the outside and in. Passersby on Mulberry Street can actually look in and see through the glass facade what is cooking in the kitchen. The name which comes from the Yiddish term for "the perfect housewife" supports their mission to make diners feel right at home. And with these comforts comes the ease of a menu made for sharing. While large plates do exist, ranging from whole fish to chicken under a brick to butcher steak, we couldn't resist ordering up the small plates and being able to sample more of the menu. You cannot go wrong with fried olives. These are served with labne and the same harissa oil that you will come across at Taim. This was a great move to take these spices and oils across the city with them. I also recommend the roasted cauliflower with currants and pine nuts - an excellent blend of sweet and savory.

I was very intrigued by the make-your-own hummus as it was served with a mortar and pestle. The whole garbanzo beans, tahini and roasted garlic arrive deconstructed, requiring you to mash all of the ingredients together to create your ideal consistency. This would have been a great idea had all of the flavors come together in the way that I envision homemade, fresh hummus. And, in the end, we both agreed something was missing - possibly the oil. However, the homemade whole wheat pita brushed with rosemary and oil made the dish completely worth it. These are delicious and added the flavors that the hummus itself was missing. The salad of the evening was made up of a variety of beets, greens, and spiced nuts topped with a mango vinaigrette - the flavor combination was springy and delicious. Their spiced nuts are excellent allowing this salad to truly stand out. My favorite dish was the shrimp kataif with flying fish roe sauce. The shrimp were wrapped in a thinly shredded dough pastry and then lightly fried. The sauce actually resembled East Asian cuisines with the use of the roe and hints of wasabi - reminding me that the Middle East isn't too far away in Asia.

While I am certainly eager to head back and try some of the larger plates, there were still several small plates that we just couldn't squeeze in as well. That's always a great sign when leaving a place - knowing what you want to try on your next visit. At Balaboosta, they are certainly creating an atmosphere for diners to become regulars. Where diners can feel close to the kitchen, as if they were in their own home. And that's when I realized why I hadn't heard more about this new spot. This is simply their new home. With no hype and no fuss, they are just ready to get to know and welcome their regulars.

214 Mulberry St. (Spring)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-7366
FOOD RATING (Out of 5):


Michele said...

yes, when I make hummus I use A LOT of FRESH olive oil and some lemon as well. I also like it really smooth, not sure the make your own would have been for me unless those extras were stashed in my purse;)

GTS said...

Love the name so I know I would like the food!!!

Kristin | The Pearl Onion said...

Yum--this looks sooo good, and it's a nice change from the usual. I look forward to trying it!

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

What a fun night Meg! Let's do it again as soon as I get back. And keep the reviews coming. I'll need to stay up to speed on what's happening in NYC while I'm away:( Thanks again for the wonderful night of foodiness!