Balaboosta, the name of one of Chef Einat Admony’s epic NYC restaurants, is a Yiddish term for the perfect homemaker, cook & hostess—a woman who does it all and does it well! A fitting name for a restaurant run by a woman like Einat, who also happens to own Bar Bolonat, falafel bar Taim and be a successful cookbook author. As a native Israeli, Einat followed intuition when she decided to focus on a delectable combination of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, gaining a serious cult following in the process.
Einat’s food is just as exciting as her life story, which was a real trip listening to one-on-one. After growing up in Tel-aviv, Einat cooked in the Israeli army, lived in Germany as a gipsy and worked in countless restaurants in NY before opening Taim in 2005.
I still remember the first time I ate at Taim about 5 years ago at the West Village location. I got myself a nice big falafel sandwich and parked my butt on a brownstone stoop, enjoying every crunchy, creamy, tangy bite and feeling like I had magically teleported to Tel-Aviv.
And my experience at Balaboosta was not far off. Only this time, I had the incredible chef to keep me company! While bonding over our love of Moroccan and Persian flavors, we feasted on all our favorite childhood dishes.
To start, we mixed and matched hummus, matboucha (cooked tomatoes and red peppers), labaneh, fried olives; recipe here, zaatar pita, roasted cauliflower with pine nuts and tahini, crispy cabbage salad and a couple cold Goldstars (Israeli beer I grew up drinking. Ahhh…the taste of home :))
This kind of meal comes out on small plates (mezes) in stages. Start your meal with some small salads and work your way up. It’s all about sharing.
For our entrees, Einat and I shared the corn flake crusted schnitzel (naturally), Israeli street fair pita (chicken and merguez with amba yogurt in pita with patatas bravas; recipe here) and Kibbeh Selek (Iraqi ground beef dumplings, semolina and red beet soup).
Warning: always approach the pickled peppers with caution! Otherwise, let yourself indulge – this meal is worth it!
Photos by- Matan Hakimi