Posts Tagged With: Taim

Best Dining in Sabra Village!

19 Cleveland

Courtesy of 19 Cleveland

East village, Greenwich Village, West Village.  These are some of the most famous village neighborhoods in the world.  So famous, other major cities following suit.  Calgary now got a quirky East Village as well.  But have you heard of Sabra Village, the smallest of the four villages?  My guess is that you never heard of it, because it doesnt exist.  Yet!  But we are in the early stages of what looks like an Israeli invasion of Nolita, a made-up real estate name which stands for North of Little Italy.  Little Italy is slowly vanishing and is now essentially one block.  Its a matter of time.

I often said that NYC lacks casual, no frills, but smart Israeli food.  A place I can bring a group of 4 to 10 on a whim.  They are either too refined (Taboon, Nur, Miss Ada), or not refined at all (Nish Nush, Ba’al, Taim), without much in between.  Our real estate market has something to do with it, but deep in the outer boroughs there’s no excuse.  There’s a place on Avenue P in Brooklyn called “Pita Off the Corner” serving awful Falafel, and barely eatable Shawarma.  But the sprawling space serves as a constant tease to what could have been.  Brooklyn is home to half a million Jews, half of NYC’s Jews.  I’m certain that not all are kitchen challenged.

But in Manhattan at least, it looks like the newest Sabra are on a mission to change all that.  Two of the three I’ll focus on below feel like you are transported to Dizengoff.  Not Philly, but Tel Aviv.  Sabra btw, has nothing to do with hummus.  Its an old term that essentially means Israeli born.  “Sabres” is the Hebrew name for prickly pear, a fruit that is rough on the outside, but soft on the inside.  And by rough I dont mean Harvey Weinstein, but as in direct, to the point.

Here are some of the early settlers of Sabra Village…

Taim – Yes, Taim is now a local chain, but a very important one.  Perhaps after X’ian Famous, the most important, and a good representation of fast food in NYC today.  Owner Einat Admony certainly knows her Hummus and Falafel.  And while I give the nod to Nish Nush as far as Falafel sandwiches go, Taim’s platter is as good as it gets.  And dont be the lame one that pronounces Taim like “lame”.  Its Tah-eem.

Taim

Shoo Shoo – If there’s anything these places need to work on is the names.  Its not clear to me what Shoo Shoo means exactly, other the sound my wife makes when the blind neighborhood cat mistakenly comes to our door instead of the next one where he normally gets his food.  The name may not sound inviting but the bright decor is, and the menu brings much freshness to the area.  Very solid hummus even when topped with boiled chickpeas that can use some texture (minor quibble).  And a legit sesame ladened Tel Aviv style chicken Schnitzel.

19 Cleveland – Continuing the questionable name theme with probably the most important Sabra on the block.  This is the first serious brick and mortar by the EWZ fave Nish Nush team.  A menu that respects tradition but at the same time playful, and elevated.  We already know they can dish out killer hummus and unmatched Falafel sandwiches.  But at 19 Cleveland (also the address) you can also find a nifty, well balanced Falafel burger, along with fish and vegan Shawarma, and a slew of other healthy eats.  Looking forward to checking out the rest of this menu.

You know what they say.  Two is a crowd, three is a village!  Nolita is a very small area, and the sudden Israeli pop is noticeable.  I’ve seen some call it Little Israel, and some call it Little Tel Aviv.   Less than a year ago there were five actually.  There’s also a branch of Cava, a kinda Israeli, fast-casual national health focused chain.  And then there’s Dez which shuttered a year after opening.  Did we reach saturation?

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

Taim is ‘Taim Meod’ but WTF is S’rug

First I should probably explain the title…

Taim – Means tasty in Hebrew.  And is a popular Falafel joint in the west village

Taim Meod – Means very tasty in Hebrew

WTF – Means What The Fuck

But –  Means except for the fact…

S’rug – ??? not sure (more on that later)

Taim

          Taim Falafel and Smoothie Bar on Waverly serves some very Taim Israeli pocket food and more.  Small but fierce Falafel balls come in 3 different flavors:  “Green” which most resembles the traditional Israeli falafel, “Harrisa” which is red and packed with mild Tunisian spices and my personal favorite, and “Red” which is another red but mixed with roasted peppers.  The best way to try all 3 is to get the mixed platter which is a good amount of the 3 (around 10 balls – compared to the slightly larger 3 balls by Azuri café, another best Falafel in NYC candidate but losing ground with me).  In addition you get a very Taim, creamy and nutty Hummus, Israeli Salad and a Taboule salad.  The pita is warm and sprinkled with zatar seasoning which is a very nice touch.

s'chugYou also get 3 different sauces with that: Tahini, Amba (terrific, smell my finger pickled Mango chutney), and something called S’rug which is supposedly a Yemeni hot sauce.  Now here’s the thing.  I am very familiar with the similar Yemeni Hot Sauce called S’hug and I’ve seen it spelled S’chug and Z’hug, but S’rug is something new.  In fact if you Google S’rug you will only find it mentioned in relation to Taim pretty much.  Quotes by Yelpers and other food bloggers mentioning Taim’s hot Yemeni sauce S’rug as if such a thing exists.  Why do they call it S’rug?  Its like a place that makes Falafel but decides to call it Fakafel, joined by a food blogger army praising the Fakafel without ever mentioning the real thing, the Falafel.

Wait, not finished digressing.  I also happened to be a big fan of the S’chug which is a staple in my fridge.  In fact I have 2 kinds at the moment including the pictured Pereg S’chug which is my absolute favorite.  I spread it on everything.  Goes very well with bread and salami.

But now I digress.  Taim, also serves a delicious Sabich, the falafel’s shy and not as good looking cousin.  Sabich is eggplant, hard boiled egg, Tehini, Amba, and Israeli salad inside a pita.  And their smoothies such as the date, lime, banana, are fantastic as well.

Taim is a tiny popular neighborhood spot.  Its more of a takeout place as it has just enough room for 4 adults and a small cat.  Everything about this place is fresh and delicious including of course… that Yemeni hot sauce… S’rug.

sabichfalafel

Categories: New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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