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Taboonette

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

30 E 13th St., New York, NY 10003 40.734683 -73.992755
nr. University Pl.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-510-7881 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Soup & Sandwich
  • Price Range: $

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  • Critics' Rating: **

    Key to Prices and ratings

    Upscale
    • Almost Perfect
    • Exceptional
    • Generally Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    Cheap Eats
    • Best in Category
    • Excellent
    • Delicious
    • Very Good
    • Noteworthy
    • Very Expensive
    • Expensive
    • Moderate
    • Cheap
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review

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Official Website

taboonette.com

Hours

Mon-Fri, 9am-10pm; Sat, 11am-10pm; Sun,11am-9pm

Nearby Subway Stops

4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R at 14th St.-Union Sq.

Prices

$2.75-$13.50.

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Delivery
  • Take-Out

Alcohol

  • No Alcohol

Reservations

Not Accepted

Profile

Hell’s Kitchen “Middleterranean” restaurant ­Taboon has spawned a Greenwich Village outpost called Taboonette, devoted to so-called pocket food: meat, seafood, and vegetable fillings stuffed into pita, folded into wraps, or served over vermicelli-strewn rice. A taboon is a domed oven, and the source of the midtown flagship’s excellent flatbread. It’s something of a disappointment, then, to learn that appearances to the contrary (firewood stacked up along one wall; a rustic beehive oven in the corner), none of ­Taboonette’s bread is made in-house, or even uptown. Still, there are plenty of good things to eat at this friendly ­counter-­service canteen, where customers perch on bar stools or share two whitewashed picnic tables.

The U.G. was particularly taken with the clever breakfast-sandwich interpretation of shakshuka, the skillet-cooked egg dish. Here a sunny-side-up egg is tucked into a puffy, Israeli-style pita with a ­garlicky tomato-and-onion stew and ­garnished with cilantro, tahini, and the Yemeni hot sauce srug: a Middle Eastern Egg McMuffin of sorts. But don’t be fooled. Despite the presence of Israeli standards like sabich sandwiches and beef-and-lamb kebabs, Taboonette is no ordinary hummus joint. It takes a much worldlier approach. Hence the pulled-pork pocket with fennel-jicama-apple slaw and chicharrónes, and the sautéed calamari option with yogurt sauce and chimichurri.

Truth be told, we’ve had better chicken shawarma—this one is actually a loose interpretation of the dish, involving spicy strips of meat cooked on a griddle rather than the traditional slivers shaved off a spit. But preserved lemon enlivens a baked-salmon sandwich, and in case you didn’t know, roasted kruveet (cauliflower) marries very nicely with grilled eggplant, hummus, and cilantro, when tucked into a whole-wheat pita. As far as accoutrements go, the vermicelli rice makes a tasty companion to the grilled meats, and the salads, while not particularly inspired, are fresh and well-dressed, often with a bright burst of lemon.

With its subtle hints of Middle Eastern flavor and its secular worldview, Taboonette won’t transport you to Tel Aviv. But like San Matteo Panuozzo, it’s striving to expand the notion of the New York sandwich, one pita pocket (or split pizza dough) at a time.

 

Ideal Meal

Shakshuka, kruveet, or pulled-pork sandwich on pita.

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