Taboon Makes Tuesday Tantalizingly Tempting….

outside_taboon
Taboon

Taboon and I became acquainted about 7 years ago and the satisfying relationship has continued to flourish.

The atmosphere is relaxed, service impeccable, friendly and the food always delectable. The comfortable white room features a blazing domed oven that has been serving original wood fired Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Middleterranean) cuisine since 2004 when partners Danny and Ayala Hodak and Gadi and Sheila Ruham opened the restaurant in the then unfashionable Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

oven
Taboon (oven)

This past weekend I introduced my lovely and generous friend as well as facialist and skincare expert extraordinaire, Kristen, to Taboon. It was Saturday night and we did our “Girl’s Gone Wild” over 35 version. Kristen requested a casual restaurant where we could dine outside and chat freely. Taboon instantly came to mind.

The other impetus was that my go to restaurant woman was back in NYC, working at Taboon. Tanya is that rare bird who has a dynamic personality, intelligence and a lovely, glowing manner that makes you want to have excellent table manners and follow her to whatever city she has landed in. She also knows the best things to order on any restaurant menu, including adult beverages. I have followed her culinary and acting career from Taboon to Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica and back to Taboon.

We dined outside on a beautiful evening and even secured a front and center, free parking spot. I think Kristen thought we would be circling for hours and would need to do a drive by at Taboon for takeout, but the parking God’s were shining down on us. After reading the street sign 14 times, we decided that the spot was legit and we disembarked.

dips
Dips

You have to order the bread at Taboon. It emerges from the taboon, (Arabic word for domed oven used to bake puffy flatbread) and appears at the table on a butcher board, piping hot and golden brown, sprinkled with EVOO, sage, rosemary and sea salt. Order the trio of dips. My personal favorites are hummus, tzaziki and the outrageous taramosalata ($14).

taboon bread

The wine list is very reasonable and offerings are from the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Israel, Greece and Lebanon. We chose a spicy, full bodied Bordeaux, Chateau Lafond 2009 (($48).

zuchini cakes
Zucchini Cakes

The Meze section has great offerings and I frequently order them instead of a main course. The warm charcoal-grilled Hudson Valley Foie Gras ($25) with quince marmalade, carmelized pistachio, black tahini on a toasted brioche is tres bien. The tasty zucchini cakes ($10.50) are served with sautéed snow peas, cipollini onions and a yogurt/mint dipping sauce.

I ordered the scallops ($15) which are one of my favorite dishes at Taboon. There are 2 succulent scallops, pan seared with spinach and quail eggs, delicately balanced on top.

I love their fresh and crisp Halumi salad with sautéed goat’s milk Halumi, tomato, red onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives, oregano with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

salad
Halumi Salad

The entrées are generous portions. Kristen ordered Hangar steak ($30) with pistachio oil marinade, rosemary Yukon potatoes, Brussel sprouts and a garlic confit. I indulged and the meat was tender and flavorful.

steak
Hangar Steak…we were drinking so the photo depicts a 1/2 eaten entree…

Chicken Taboon ($25) with cured lemon, Israeli coucous, sautéed broccoli rabe, pearl onion confit and topped with panzanella salad is wonderful. Other divine selections are; the lamb duo, consisting of lamb chops and ground lamb kebabs over a stew of root vegetables, lentils, tahini and a fresh mint and cilantro salad, a whole Branzino ($32), Heraime ($32) also known as wild striped bass, Lamb Osso Bucco ($30) and a vegetable grill ($24).

We sampled a new item on the menu, the Caprese flatbread ($15) with premium Burrata, sliced kumato tomatoes, fresh basil and a balsamic glaze. The flatbread was crispy and the Burrata and tomatoes sweet and delicate.

caprese
Caprese Flatbread

Lava Cake, a chocolate molten creation with warm chocolate sauce and Turkish coffee ice cream ($10) ended the meal on a sweet note. The Date Sponge Cake is also a nifty choice.

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Lava Cake with Turkish Coffee Ice Cream

If you are looking for a delectable dining experience whether eating inside or out, definitely visit Taboon and request Tanya. It is also a perfect pre or post Broadway choice.

Kristen was a delightful, erudite dining partner and graciously treated me to dinner so I shall raise a glass of red to my fair-haired friendie and again say, thank you!

Taboon is located at 773 10th Avenue at the corner of 52nd Street. It is open weekdays from 5-10pm, Saturday from 5-11:30pm and Sunday 11am-3:30pm and 5-10pm. 212.713.0271.

By The Way…Talking Tuesday restaurants, I recently dined at Landmarc in the Time Warner Center…it’s my go to place in the ‘hood. I sit at the bar and hang with Nairoby and Ellen. Anyway, Ben Affleck was in last week. He sat in a booth and ordered a burger and a $1700 bottle of wine…my kind of guy. He tipped on the entire tab and even left some of the lusious nectar for the peeps to imbibe!

taboon

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