Au Za’atar has already gotten a lot of press for a little restaurant in the East Village. This may be because a) it may be the only Arabian-French bistro in the city, and b) it is a new family-run restaurant on Avenue A, where just a block away a neighborhood pub was recently supplanted by the glowing specter of a 7 Eleven. (more…)
The opening of a new Daniel Boulud restaurant is reason enough for a downtowner to head uptown, but there are two things about his new Boulud Sud that make it particularly exciting. When most American restaurants take on the genre of Mediterranean food, they stick to the usual suspects: Italy, Spain, France and Greece. But one of the first words on Boulud Sud’s menu is “harissa,” and the African and Middle Eastern influences take off from there.
This is a welcome change, because our American idea of what constitutes Mediterranean fare is behind the times. Despite New York chefs’ emphasis on food like one’s nonna would have made it, many restaurants in France and Italy have changed radically since the ’50s, with many more African and Middle Eastern techniques and ingredients making their way onto menus. (more…)