December 26, 2014 Update:
Took yet another shiksa to Bar Bolonat the other day and had another fun meal. Plenty of empty tables on a Friday night at 8 pm but by the time we left the place was packed. Are we eating later now like in Europe? I didn’t get the memo. Einat Admony’s pink scooter wasnt there again, and I’m yet to meet this NYC legend. Yes, to me her accomplishments here are inline with some of the famous chefs in NYC. Although there were some misses on this particular night, there were plenty of hits, some of which I added to the recommended list below.
Sunchoke Latkes – Hannukah special. Tasted much better than they looked (they looked like Latkes!). Nice falafely flavor
Delicata Squash – Good. Essentially a hefty meaty sweet squash lightly dressed with some Tahini and a few pieces of brittle adding more sweetness and crunch. Contrary to how the media praises the veg dishes, I don’t see them as the strong points here. Timeout named the Everyday Cauliflower one of the best dishes of the year, but I thought it was just ok and not nearly as good as Balaboosta’s version
Octopus – Just ok. Came with a couple of purees, roasted peppers, and something called “Squid Ink Cracker” which was like a tasteless rice cake. The octopus itself was a bit too tender, as in undercooked and missing that nice octopus bite (octobite!)
Zabzi Tagine – Still great but lost some of its “Taginess”. Short rib instead of beef cheek this time (I prefer the cheeks). Came with a closed lid. I was hoping to impress this particular Shiksa with the incredible aromas I remember from last time that would drive her mishegas. But this time as soon as the lid went up, we got bupkes. None of that crazy good herby action I smelled before. Still, a solid plate overall and something I would order again
Hudson Street Kibbeh – This was a fantastic dish and possibly the best Kibbeh I ever had. Three x-large egg shaped pieces with preserved lemon sauce. The meat was perfectly seasoned and the crust had a nice crunch.
Falafel Encrusted Grouper – I wasn’t sure about this one. Love my falafels and groupers but not necessarily together. Turned out to be a great surprise. The falafel crust was just strong (or weak) enough to compliment the delicate fish which was perfectly cooked. Loved the accompanied beans in this white Chermoula seasoned sauce which absorbed much of the fish. Perhaps my new favorite dish here
Halva Crème Brulee – As good as before. Admony’s desserts are some of the best in the business.
I should also note that with the end of the year looming I’m seeing some of these dishes included in various best of the year lists. Namely, the Jerusalem Bagel, Halva Crème Brulee and Cauliflower dish. And this is just the beginning of the lists season
Original May 14, 2014 post:
Something peculiar happened to me yesterday that worries me a little. It could be nothing, something, or an eating lowlight of sorts not sure. A wardrobe malfunction after another great meal at Ma Peche. A rather important button disappeared from one of the only shirts I have that makes me look healthy. Not just any button. A designer button made in a Mongolian orphanage. For about an hour on the bus I looked like something like this. There was nothing in the way, nothing I could do to control or contain that gut but cover it with my hands as best I could. A sign perhaps, like a timely Metamucil commercial that I should start watching
how much what I eat. “You are what you eat” is what they keep saying (They=Dr. Oz) and according to the laws of digestion, the gut in question was loaded with Korean, American, Italian, Modern Israeli and chocolate covered pomegranates from Costco (serious awesomeness) among other delicacies. Yes, it was one of those weekends.
The first word that came to mind when I arrived at Einat Admony’s Bar Bolonat is guts. The pink scooter was not there which means perhaps that Einat doesn’t give a couscous about the all important critic stage after an opening. Ok, after missing her in Balaboosta and Taim over the years I just cant get a break. All I want to do is tell her how awesome she is, and complain about the way they spell S’chug at Taim (wtf is “S’rug”) thats all. The good news is that the Schug (Yemenite hot sauce/spread) spelling makes more sense at Bar Bolonat. The better news is that the meal was very good.
As in Balaboosta and just about every new place these days, its large, small, smaller plate format. We ordered 6 dishes + 2 desserts for the 2 of us and it felt that it was the right amount of food. Plates started rolling out at a furious pace at first. 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 a bit which they did.
The Jerusalem Bagel with Za-atar spices on the side was light and fresh. I always say that if you see bread on the menu, get it, and I continue to follow the rule. But I cant help but be less enthusiastic about this rule of thumb now that every new place follows this trend. It almost feels refreshing these days when you get free bread, like the focaccia with various dips/salads we got at Enoteca Maria (the rotating Italian Babushka place) the other night
A fine baby artichoke dish, coated with a good amount of pistachios and spices. As good as baby artichoke can taste for me. The “Everyday Cauliflower” was on the dry side with very little tahini at the bottom and tasted more like.. well… everyday cauliflower. Maybe that’s the point, but a slight nod to the Balaboosta version. The star of the show by far was the Zabzi Tagine. Incredibly aromatic and flavor packed beef cheeks and homemade couscous. The beef cheeks made me forget about the super tender beef cheek dish I had in Sylvain in New Orleans recently
Four plump, expertly cooked Shrimp with Yemenite Curry and just a touch of that spicy S’chug was quite delectable. A similar dish she offered at Balaboosta as a special. Fresh Pasta with ricotta was simple, and quite delicious. If there’s one thing I like more than simple fresh pasta, is simple fresh pasta with a bit of a kick.
No Chocolate Falafel on the dessert menu last night (probably a good thing) but enjoyed a nice Malabi, (the Israeli Panna Cotta), and an ever better Halva Creme Brulee. Like the Silan at Taboon its all about the shredded Halva taking this one to the next level. Check out Bar Bolonat everyone, and bring your Shiksas
611 Hudson St
Recommended Dishes: Jerusalem Bagel, Zabzi Tagine, Shrimp with Yemenite Curry, Fresh Pasta, Hudson Street Kibbeh, Grouper, Halva Creme Brulee