When you can cook Shabbat dinner for 30-40 people, opening a restaurant is a cakewalk. Or so it seems for chef Einat Admony of Taim and Balaboosta fame, whose third restaurant, Bar Bolonat, will open in “hopefully mid-July” on the corner of Hudson and 12th Avenue in New York’s West Village.
The Forward’s Anne Cohen recently spoke by telephone with Admony to talk about what “New Israeli” food means to her, if she ever gets tired of cooking it, and how this restaurant is different from the others.
She even gave us a sneak peak at the menu… Judging by her descriptions, we should start counting down the days to “mid-July.”
How would you describe the food at Bar Bolonat?
New Israeli cuisine mostly, it’s very playful. It’s a little more elevated than Balaboosta. Over there is going to be a lot of twists on traditional food.
Where does the name come from?
[It’s] pretty much slang. It means to the point. I like this name; because it has “Bolo” inside, and that was the first restaurant I worked at in New York. After I came up with Balaboosta, which I love, it was really hard to find a name. The “Bar” is in the center of the restaurant so there is some emphasis on the bar, not as a drinking place, but as a place to gather. My kitchen is open and there is going to be a tasting menu so people can sit there and eat.
Any signature dishes?
We’re going to do a mint-tea gelato served in the some beautiful traditional Moroccan glasses. Also tomato provencal, which is a very traditional, savory appetizer. I took it totally to a different level and put elderflower and rosemary. For brunch we’re going to do a Tunisian roll. I bake it together so it’s kind of a surprise, with preserved lemon, kalamata [olives], tuna, potato, egg, harissa and lemon aioli.
This is all a mix that’s going inside a roll. I brush the small rolls with all sorts of things: cumin seeds, paprika. They look really, really beautiful.
How is this place different from your two other restaurants, Taïm and Balaboosta?
It’s going to be more modern, even with lights and fixtures. I obviously want it to be very inviting. The food is going to be a little bit fusion, a little bit more hip. I want to give myself a little bit more room to experiment with all the ingredients I love. At Balaboosta, it’s all very much about Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Over there, we’re going to play around.
Do you ever feel there are limits to Israeli cuisine?
Of course! Because I cooked everything before, it’s so easy for everybody to see me as an Israeli chef. But I can cook Thai food really well, and I love Indian cuisine and a lot of other stuff. I started with Israeli food because that’s where I’m from. It’s still my home and my heritage to do Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, but I want to combine it with [something] a little bit different.
Why do you think people respond so well to Israeli cuisine?
These days there’s a lot of talk about medicine and health. I think we use better ingredients than others. The way we cook is a little bit different. Israeli cuisine has amazing flavors. People, especially in the States, relate Jewish cuisine immediately to the Eastern European one. One of the things I’m really interested in showing is that Jewish cuisine is much more than matzo ball and gefilte fish. My mom is Iranian and there is such a beautiful cuisine for the Persian people it is amazing. The idea is to show the diversity.
If you had to use one ingredient in everything, what would it be?
Why do I have to put just one! Probably harissa. I do my own harissa and it’s amazing.
For the complete recipe, click here.