Mon, 5:30pm-11pm; Tue-Thu, noon-3pm and 5:30-11pm; Fri, noon-3pm and 5:30-11:30pm; Sat, 11am-3pm and 5:30pm-11:30pm; Sun, 11am-3pm and 5:30pm-10pm
6 at Spring St.
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Einat Admony, who serves what many consider to be the best falafel sandwich in town (at Taïm, in the West Village), calls her latest restaurant Balaboosta, which means “perfect housewife” in Yiddish. The white-brick walls of the storefront space, in Nolita, are lined with family photos and rows of cookbooks, all designed to convey the Israeli-born chef’s personal, even motherly, sense of comfort, practicality, and home. Admony’s idea of home-style cooking, however, is slightly different from yours and mine. It includes bowls of crispy fried cauliflower drizzled with pine nuts and currants, and toasty slabs of bruschetta heaped with smoked eggplant or wedges of fresh burrata cheese. Ask for shrimp and it comes wrapped in phyllo and dressed in a creamy sauce speckled with flying-fish roe. Ask for soup and you will get a cooling gazpacho sweetened by two kinds of melon (cantaloupe and honeydew) and bits of almond brittle.
Admony, who cooked in many highbrow kitchens around the city before opening Taïm, can do all sorts of imaginative things in her kitchen. The exceptionally tender house chicken is cooked under a brick, in the Mediterranean style, and served with couscous, apricots, and a pot of fresh-made gremolata on the side. Lamb loin is arranged elegantly on the plate just like at fancy restaurants uptown (only here it’s wrapped in Swiss chard), and the “spicy” skirt steak is one of the better new versions of the old-fashioned dish you’ll find in this steak-saturated town. Balaboosta is a popular restaurant, so the service can be brusque. But the desserts have a soothing effect, especially the Malabi milk custard, which is a kind of melting, Middle Eastern version of panna cotta flavored with orange blossoms.Ideal Meal
Crispy cauliflower or shrimp Kataïf, house chicken, Malabi custard.