When is a concept, not really a concept. Or doesnt feel like one. If you walk inside Kish Kash in West Village without knowing anything about it, it may feel like just another casual restaurant serving food that my be even too familiar. But once you read about it you can see that this is not your ordinary kitchen. Its the only place in NYC that makes couscous the way it was made 300 years ago. Couscous made with a lot of love that accumulated over the years by chef Einat Admony (Balaboosta, Taim).
Couscous is the side dish most used in my house because its the easiest to make. Kish Kash refers to the Sieve traditionally used to make Couscous by hand, a process that takes hours. As far as I know, Admony is the only one doing it in NYC. They dont even do this in Morocco anymore.
But what is the real concept here for the average eater who most likely wont notice the difference. While its definitely a fluffier, better tasting product, once combined with the terrific Mafrum (spiced ground beef meat balls with tomato sauce) or any of the other items on the menu, the flavor gap narrows and it may taste like any other couscous after a few bites.
The real concept to me is the place and the rest of the menu. A well designed bright, inviting space serving quick, homey Israeli/North African dishes like the mentioned Mafrum which might be the thing to get. Or the Chraime, a whitefish, Branzino in this case, topped with tangy tomato sauce. All dishes come with the house Couscous of course and homemade Harissa you can add once you get bored. That combination, whether with meat or fish, results in a very satisfying forkful.
While I would still opt for this couscous given the option, the dishes would work with instant couscous or maybe even with something else. You can make the meal as quick or long as you want. There are starters like the legit looking hummus. And since you are at an Admony house, by law you must try the cauliflower that comes ladened with Tahini, pines nuts, and raisins. There’s Israeli wine and beer of course, but no Malt “Black Beer” for those truly missing Tel Aviv.
455 Hudson St (Barrow/Morton), West Village
Rating: 2 Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that.
Recommended Dishes: Mafrum, Chraime, Cauliflower