Balaboosta. Location: Nolita. Spring & Mulberry St. Scene: Intimate. Cozy. Date Night. Mediterranean: Falafel Wrapped Meatballs. Hummus “Mortar and Pestle” with Tahini, Lemon, Roasted Garlic. Fried Olives. Red Snapper.
- Crispy Cauliflower with Currants, Pine Nuts & Lemon (1st pic)
- Golden Quinoa Salad: Dried Cranberries, Chickpeas, Fresh Herbs and Preserved Lemon (2nd pic)
Balaboosta which means “Perfect Housewife” in Yiddish is an Israeli restaurant in Nolita brought to you by Israeli-born chef Einat Admony, so this is the real thing, folks. The restaurant space is small with a few seats at the bar to grab a glass of wine and a cute little window seat that overlooks Mulberry Street. Booths outline the edges of the restaurant and two-top tables make this place a great, romantic date spot. The small plates and appetizers are most appealing with generous servings and every table orders the “Mortar and Pestle” Hummus because well, that’s what you do at a Middle Eastern restaurant and the fact that you get to play with your food makes it even a more mandatory order.
Balaboosta feels more like an Americanized, upscale Israeli restaurant than an authentic little spot, but the pita bread definitely tastes like it’s straight up from Tel Aviv. I absolutely love the crsipy cauliflower and that it’s paired with sweet currants. If you have to narrow down a few dishes, don’t miss this one or you’ll regret it. It’s warm and a mix of crispy and soft textures. The golden quinoa salad is a lighter dish ideal for summer, but unfortunately, I was not a fan of the eggplant (3rd pic above). It was a bit too charred and smokey. They used to serve an orecchiette pasta with kale and ricotta that rocked, but now they have a housemade beet pasta with spinach, garlic and ricotta that sounds even better. Overall, I’d stick to the appetizers and small plates. Try a little falafel here and there or the grilled pizza with goat cheese and carrot puree and you should be satisfied, plump and happy. Like they say in Israel, Sababa!
***Tip: Balaboosta has breakfast pizza with fried eggs at brunch and a lamb burger at lunch so don’t rule out their daytime offerings. Also, Taim is their famous falafel spot down the street, so mark that down on your list now, too.