Posts Tagged With: Balaboosta

Balaboosta Needs a Boosta Shot

Balaboosta - OctopusYou can get easily lost in the constant changing dining shuffle here in NYC.  One minute its Poke, another minute its Ramen, and before you know it, Sabra joints popping up all over like.. well, Sabra.  When Balaboosta first opened 7 years ago, it was quite the welcoming menu featuring refreshing Middle Eastern and north African fare not so easily available elsewhere.  But today, with places like Nur, Timna, Taboon, and even Balaboosta’s hipper sister Bar Bolonat, this once perfect housewife (the meaning of Balaboosta) seems a little lost, neglected, disowned by the family and left in a nursing home in Idaho

After all these visits to the Einat Admoni empire (Taim, Bar Bolonat, Balaboosta), I’ve never seen her pink scooter parked in the front which also means I’ve never actually met her.  She strikes me as a very busy celebrity chef nowadays, promoting, cooking, touring, pink scooter racing, etc, etc.  There’s nothing unusual about establishments running themselves like well oiled machines.  But one cant help but wonder if this one requires a little more attention these days.

Take the current menu for example.  You have usual classics like the cauliflower that pretty much started the Israeli cauliflower trend all over town.  The hummus that makes me question my stance on chunky vs creamy every time I eat it.  A perfectly tender octopus that defines smokiness.  And a taste of Israeli street food, chicken and merguez in a pita with that mango-ish Amba sauce normally poured on shawarmas.  The appetizers here are solid for the most part and set the tone

Balaboosta - Hummus

But unfortunately the excitement stops there.  There are places out there that make me want to come back and try every single entree on the menu, and then there are those where I struggle to pick two.  If you remove the first item (“Syrian Pasta ‘Rishta’) you are essentially staring at you average “New American” menu.  Two fish dishes, chicken, brisket, lamb burger, and a skirt steak.  Some come with small hints (“Israeli couscous”) that you are inside an Israeli/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean establishment.  My super picky mother-in-law and the entire Joy Suck Club can have a field day with this menu.  Maybe thats the idea.  Remove the exotica, and make it as Balaboosta friendly as possible, where NYU students can bring their Bridge and Tunnel parents (I am one, and yes it is a thing) to finally meet that new boyfriend.

On this Saturday night, even the two specials were both appetizers.  We settled on the chicken and Branzino.  The boneless chicken was tender alright, with crispy skin that blended nicely with flesh, but got progressively duller.  The Branzino was cooked well (hard to screw it up), but flavors not very distinct or different than what we grill at home once a month.  We wanted at least one fish dish and that was the only one served whole.  My friend enjoyed her skirt steak, while her partner was struggling with the lamb burger.  And for dessert the Knafeh didnt seem as eventful as last time around.  An enjoyable meal nonetheless, but I think I’ll stick to the younger hipper sister for the time being

Balaboosta
214 Mulberry St (Spring/Prince), Nolita
Rating: One Z (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that
Recommended Dishes: Octopus, Hummus, Cauliflower, Israeli Street Food

 

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Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Balaboosta – Vey Zmir What Flavors!

Balaboosta - HummusThis is gonna be a goodie and a quickie.  Or maybe just a quickie, we’ll see how it goes.  I’m just a little busy lately with all sorts of things going on including an invitation to the latest Jean Paul Gaultier collection.  Yes, another thing you didnt know about me I suppose but I am a Jewish Fashionista of sorts.  When I’m not busy travelling and eating, I am busy checking out the latest fashion trends.  Jean Paul (or JP as we friends call him) latest tells me that I need to get a new buyer (wife).  She keeps buying me black and I’m starting to suspect that this is her way of calling me fat.  But at the same time, JP’s Rabbi Chic collection at the Brooklyn Museum yesterday tells me black is still the new black and my buyer will be kept.  For now.

Balaboosta (which loosely translates in Yiddish to “She who will drop the lobster remains on your shoulder during dinner time if you say anything negative about her mother again.  Next time will be your head”) is one of those places that’s been on my list for a while.  Pretty much ever since seeing owner Einat Admony won Chopped.  I’ve been a fan of Taim for a while now, even while enduring the suffering of seeing them misspell S’chug over the years.  And of course, after all that, Einat was not there to receive the complaint directly as she had a family function to attend.

As I explained recently to a friend, I dont write posts about bad meals.  If I have a bad meal I simply dont write anything (which happened quite a few times this year).  Balaboosta is Israeli/middle eastern at its best…

Crispy Cauliflower – With lemon,​ currants, pine nuts.  Sweet, savory and delicious.  This is sort of a celebrated dish here, mentioned on forums, various websites, cookbooks.  Children books written about it; “Goodnight Balaboosta Cauliflower!”

Hummus “Mortar and Pestle” – tahini, roasted garlic, za’atar pita – We know our hummus and this is damn good hummus.  As with Taim pitas, love the use of za’atar.  No surprises here, like Brian Boitano announcing he’s gay

Homemade Swiss Chard Spaghetti – With heart of artichoke, ricotta, crispy garlic and walnuts. Simple and delectable.  Kids, wife attacked it like its the last day of the Mayan calendar.  Leaving almost nothing for Ziggy

Yemenite Pizza – shaved fennel, caramelized onion, feta, arugula.  Put this one under “why did I order this category”  not a fan of this combination to begin with.  Oldest child proclaimed “Interesting”

Braised Short Ribs – sauteed okra, oven dried tomato, spinach, chickpea cake,   hawaïj & white wine reduction – Meaty and tender.  Chickpea cake’s texture a little off, mushy, but tasted fine

Lamb Kebabs (special) – Excellent.  Tasty, herby, like a nice cross between Adana and Indian kebabs.  Sitting on top of crisped pita on a bed of eggplant tahini (fancy for babaghanouj)

Moroccan Curry Seafood – seared fish filet , shrimp, scallop, eggplant, baby carrot, kale, bokchoy.  Terrific, though not quite sure how its Moroccan or “Curry”.  Mild bright sauce, letting the well cooked seafood do the talking.  My Balaboosta thought it was too bland but probably due to trying this after the well spiced kebabs.  I liked it

I must say the desserts here were exceptional.  Banana Bread pudding is NOLA quality!  For those who’ve been to New Orleans know what I’m talking about.  Knafeh, or as we called it while touring Israel, “The Hairy Baklava” is quite good as well, with rose water ice cream which was a pleasant surprise.

Special thanks the young French waitress helping us out.

Balaboosta

214 Mulberry St

Balaboosta - cauliflower Balaboosta - Pizza Balaboosta - Spaghetti Balaboosta - Kebabs Balaboosta - Seafood casserole Balaboosta - Knaffe Balaboosta - Bread pudding Balaboosta

Categories: New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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