NEW YORK, April 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Having introduced New York City to the art of cooking in a taboon – the traditional dome-shaped, wood fired oven used throughout the Middle East for nearly three millennia – as the opening chef of Manhattan's eponymously named Taboon in 2004, Efraim (Efi) Nahon has returned to the restaurant as executive chef and partner after a seven year hiatus. The Israeli native's reprise of his top toque role at Taboon signals the revitalization of its kitchen with a new menu of what Chef Nahon describes as more sophisticated renderings of Taboon's signature blend of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food.
Or "Middleterranean" food, as dubbed by Chef Nahon's partners, Danny and Ayala Hodak, when he first exhibited has deft knack for melding the multi-cultural ingredients and techniques of the regions to yield truly distinctive, rather exotic dishes that seduce all the senses. Just reading their descriptions evokes an anticipatory mouthwatering. Witness: Scallops, leek and spinach stew, parmesan creme anglaise, crispy chickpea crouton; Foie Gras, charcoal grilled Hudson Valley foie gras, house made quince marmalade, caramelized pistachio, black tahni, toasted house baked brioche and Egg Burek, soft poached egg wrapped in crispy phyllo dough, Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut puree, wild mushrooms, white truffle oil.
Now, after highly touted stints at the Flatiron District's Barbounia and Bustan on the Upper West Side, during which he refined his characteristic style, the Middleterranean Master Nahon is launching a new, larger and more culturally diverse menu for Taboon - one that is augmented daily by more specials than have heretofore been among the restaurant's offerings.
Overall Chef Nahon says his food for Taboon is "incorporating more Greek and Italian influences, while presenting more vegetarian and seafood options. We're serving oysters here for the first time, and I've created a cocktail sauce that uses Moroccan souk chili powder for heat instead of horseradish. I like doing that… taking an American classic and making it Middleterranean. I'm doing it with the potatoes that come with our hanger steak. They're Middleterranean loaded potatoes with tahini and smoked duck crumbles, instead of sour cream and bacon bits. Also we're roasting more and doing and more crudos and ceviches. Basically we've elevated the food at Taboon, making it more sophisticated."
Highlights among the new menu's meze (a.k.a. appetizers) in addition to the above referenced scallops, foie gras and egg burek, are: Spanish Octopus, gigante bean masabahah, crushed tomatoes, pickled onion, sumac, bottarga; Mushroom Bread Pudding, wild mushrooms, sour dough, thyme, parmesan, buffalo ricotta; Calamari a la Plancha, green vegetable fattoush with zaatar lost bread, Greek yogurt; and Black Iron Shrimp, souk style, served sizzling, olive oil, garlic, lemon, parsley.
While standouts from the main courses include: Heraime, halibut, taboon baked in a ragout of roasted pepper, tomato, cilantro, Moroccan spices, Italian cous cous, green gabanzo, hot paprika oil; Terra Cotta Lamb Kebobs, Mediterranean pot pie, Colorado ground lamb, charred onion, plum tomatoes, pine nuts, flatbread dome; Branzino, Mediterranean branzino, served whole or fileted, Taboon baked, served with lemon soaked Greek potatoes, broccolini, caper salsa verde; Short Ribs, braised beef, ras el hanout, hummus, red pearl onions, mushrooms, pita; and Hanger Steak, Colorado Brandt beef, garlic, marjoram, and pistachio oil marinade, shishiti peppers, bone marrow, Idaho potatoes with scallion, tahini, smoked duck crumbles, smoked sea salt.
Taboon habitues will appreciate the House Foccacia that Chef Nahon started baking at the restaurant 11 years ago - puffy taboon baked bread brushed with olive oil and finished with rosemary, sage and fleur de sel - remains available as does Hummus.
In addition to his culinary duties at Taboon, Chef Nahon is tweaking the "pocket food" at Taboonette, which re-defines the stuffing of pita, opened near Union Square by his partners in 2012. He is priming the quick casual concept for expansion.
Taboon, located at 773 10th Ave, at 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019, is open daily for dinner, from 5 to 11 p.m. on weekdays, 5 to 11:30 on Saturdays and until 10 on Sundays. Brunch is served on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information and reservations, visit www.taboononline.com or call