Taboon—A Place You Can Call Home

| March 15, 2013

taboon nyc

In preparation of our upcoming cookbook launch dinner, I headed to Hell’s Kitchen, now better known as Clinton—but hey, I’m old school.  Inspired by the vibrant spices and flavors of the Middleast and the Mediterranean, with fresh made-from-scratch food, this neighborhood hotspot has earned a loyal following and is continually evolving.

Since February of 2004, owners Danny and Ayala Hodak have been welcoming business people, tourists and a host of loyal locals to this incredibly cozy spot. You are greeted by a blazing white domed oven, a “taboon,” that the Hodak’s had custom-built and has been delivering wood-fired, savory treats ever since—but this is just the beginning.

After imbibing a perfectly executed Negroni, we dove into the menu with the house Focaccia (puffy taboon baked bread brushed with olive oil and finished with rosemary, sage and fleur de sel) and the Taboon Trio consisting of Hummus, Tzaziki and Red Pepper Spread—a traditional and delicious start to what would prove to be an extremely memorable meal.

It was now time to explore the “Meze” section of the menu, and we did just that by delving into the Foie Gras (charcoal grilled Hudson Valley Foie Gras, quince marmalade, caramelized pistachio, black tahini and toasted brioche) and the Kube (bulghur wheat pocket filled with skirt steak, pine nuts, parsley, grape leaves and finished with fresh oregano and argan oil over eggplant Tzaziki). These were both absolutely delicious and started to articulate the commitment to freshness that ultimately was found in each and every dish throughout the evening. However, it was the delivery of the Kadayif Scallops Benedict (bed of kadayif filo, spinach, cilantro, quail eggs over-easy and lemongrass-infused butter) that started to rapidly raise the bar—spectacular!

Moving on from the house Sauvignon Blanc to the Chardonnay proved uneventful, as all of the “wine by the glass” selections were rock solid. The final dish on the savory side of the menu was a daily special—a halibut preparation that was truly, poetry in motion.

Traditionally, I am not much of a tea person, but the house tea, a blend of fresh mint, fresh sage and dried lemon verbena was absolutely exquisite and I have every intention of duplicating this preparation in my home kitchen. This steamy delight was enjoyed alongside the Silan (vanilla ice cream layered with puffed rice and date honey sprinkled with caramelized pistachios and topped with shredded halva) and the indescribably delicious Knaffe (kadayif stuffed with ricotta and goat cheese, pan seared in butter and rose infused syrup).

This was one of those meals that was not only delicious, but when you add a truly warm ambiance, great service and a real sense of belonging—it just may be your new home. Get out there and try Taboon! You won’t be disappointed.

Taboon is located at 773 10th Ave, (near 52nd Street) New York, NY 10019

(212) 713-0271