Mon-Thu, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun, closed
L at Eighth Ave.; 1, 2, 3 at 14th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Bar Bolonat, which opened not long ago in the West Village, is another new expansion project by a talented downtown chef, although on a more modest scale than Schenker’s at the Gander and with slightly more uplifting results. Einat Admony has specialized, first at the great falafel shack Taïm, then at Balaboosta in Nolita, in translating her own elegant brand of Israeli cooking for a wider New York audience. Her latest restaurant, which occupies an awkward corner space on Hudson Street, seems to be designed as a slightly racier alternative to the other two. The bar serves colorful mixology creations with names like Shiksa and Saz-Arak, and the bar tables are set close together on a floor covered in polished concrete. Dinner is accompanied by a thumping, clubby soundtrack, and several of the exotic small-plates dishes are served on blocks of black slate.
I liked most of the things I tasted, although the modest-size menu tends to work better in the loud room as a series of small-plate tastes (and drinks), instead of a full-bore sit-down dinner. Get the fried olives, the excellent “teardrop” kibbeh (with a pot of preserved-lemon sauce for dipping), and anything to do with vegetables, in particular the grilled baby artichokes (with pistachio yogurt) and the “Everyday Cauliflower,” served with a peanut-flavored tahini. Some of the more ambitious, entrée-style dishes (dorade with too much harissa, a decorative but overcooked baby Poussin flavored with pomegranate) don’t cohere quite as well, so stick to classics like minute steak (delicately sliced, with frizzled onions) or beef-cheek tagine, and save room for the hard-topped crème brûlée, which is served with melting shreds of halvah.
Japanese eggplant, $11; grilled baby artichokes with pistachio dukkah, $12; poussin with crispy rice, $31