I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. And any place that’s serving it with a creative twist, well, I’m automatically intrigued. So, I knew I had to go to Balaboosta in NoLIta. The husband and wife duo who own Balaboosta definitely pay homage to their heritage and family throughout the restaurant, from the pictures on the wall and the backs of the menus. Now, before going, I honestly had no idea that these were the same brilliant minds behind Taim, which I had just recently gone to and had the most incredible Falafel Sandwich. Well, it explains a lot, and these guys are absolutely doing things right.
To start, I had a cocktail, Camelia (Pimm’s no. 1, strawberry, cucumber, mint, ginger ale). It was a little fizzy, a little sweet, refreshing, and a little bit strong. No complaints here.
Then, we were kindly given a complimentary appetizer along with some friendly conversation. These personal touches really go a long way and bring in an added connection to the restaurant and full experience. I had their Fried Olives with house made organic labne. Oh. My. Goodness. So, I could probably eat these all day, all the time, they were delicious. There’s a common idea that everything is better fried. Well, I’ve never had a fried olive until now, and, yup, it’s way better. The labne, similar to a yogurt, was creamy and delicious and really balances out the saltiness of the olive.
For my meal I had the Shakshouka (baked organic eggs in spicy tomato sauce, spinach, grilled sourdough). I loved this. I’ve had Shakshouka before, but this might have been the best one. It’s fresh and healthy, but still has a spicy, comfort food quality that really hits all marks. The sourdough on the side is crunchy and makes for the best little spongy scoop to spoon up all of the tomato goodness.
Location: 214 Mulberry Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Without a doubt. Fun fact, Balaboosta is a “Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook and gracious hostess. She does it all and she does it well!”. And yeah, she’s killin it!
Would I recommend it? Oh yeah, food so good, even if you don’t know any Yiddish, you’ll be saying “oy” at how delicious it is.