The most fascinating plate in the city correct now is the duck borek at Zou Zou’s, which opened in November at the Manhattan West sophisticated in the West 30s amongst Ninth and Tenth avenues. It is on track to be the season’s group-satisfying, breakout dish, the way Le Pavillon’s oysters Vanderbilt and Carne Mare’s gorgonzola-marinated wagyu were in 2021.
Zou Zou’s comes from the Excellent Branded staff that’s powering the Smith & Wollensky chain and Quality Italian. In this article, the cafe group usually takes the Levantine route, tapping the culinary variations of Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. The household is packed each and every night time with eaters of all ages who stay or work at Manhattan West, which also offers several other restaurants, an ice skating rink and a lemon grove artwork installation termed Citrovia.
Chef Madeline Sperling informed The Submit that she and govt sous chef Juliana Latif set out to target their Eastern Mediterranean menu on are living-fire cooking and flavors with “an emphasis on pleasurable and an element of shock.” They’ve succeeded on each counts, specifically with their playfully French-ified take on a borek — a savory, flaky-dough pastry that’s usually considered of as Turkish but pops up in several designs and measurements all around the Middle East.
Palate-, abdomen- and soul-satisfying
I flipped for Zou Zou’s duck edition the initially time the waiter sliced the prodigious, 8-inch-diameter pie with the gleaming, curved blade recognised as a mezzaluna.
This is palate, tummy and soul-gratifying stuff on a bitter cold evening. Duck that is finely floor with seasonings and bread crumbs is piped into levels of phyllo-like yufka dough that are then shaped into a spiral. The sausage is cooked by until eventually the dough turns crisp and golden. The pastry is then concluded with l’orange glaze textured with Sicilian pistachios and cracked coriander seeds.
The sausage was as dreamily smooth as baby meals in the ideal way. The total matter is a constellation of contrasts — now bitter, now sweet, tender right here and crunchy there.
Offered as a “specialty” principal class, it is “big adequate for two,” waiters informed us on distinctive nights. They lied: the $68 monster quickly feeds 3 standard individuals, who may well select it to start a meal or to serve as the climax.
Quite a few other attractive dishes
Sharing will come quickly in the comfortable and convivial, blue- and green-tiled dining space created by AvroKO. It feels larger than its 75 seats, many thanks to generous spacing amongst tables and booths struggling with the flames-filled open up kitchen area.
Lighting from overhead wrought-iron fixtures delivers a glow to the cavalcade of colourful breads, dips, salads, mezze plates and much larger specialties.
The environment inside the Pendry Resort feels sunny on the darkest night and is properly attuned to the menu. Numerous dishes are the duck borek’s in close proximity to-equal. Black sea bass filet ($55 and also plenty of for at the very least two) is wrapped in brined grape leaves that have been grilled about embers. It reads on paper like dishes you obtain in all places, but the fact is a revelation. The flaky, moist fish has a meaty heft and flavor depth deserving of the finest French and Greek seafood kitchens. When unwrapped tableside, it emits a perfume of tomato vinaigrette, fixed lemons, olives and Calabrian chili.
Familiar-sounding lamb tartare ($19) is also memorable, with regular bulgur cooked to a puff for extra crunch. The raw meat is mildly sparked with candied ginger and pickled Thai chilies.
Zou Zou’s breads are not to be missed, but be mindful: they’re so filling that you can fill up in advance of you have nearly anything else. My preferred was spiced honey-butter kubaneh influenced by Jewish Yemeni pull-apart rolls. You can get a trio of dips for $21, however it barely requirements them. Still, the accompaniments are amazing my most loved was ricotta whipped to an ethereal airiness with saffron and apricots.
Of the 3 desserts on the menu, go with a tall parfait glass of lemon frozen yogurt sprinkled with shaved ice. Olive oil blunts the acidic edge. It is yummy prime to bottom and even more pleasurable than the lemon grove outside the house.