Dining

Einat Admony's latest Middle Eastern-Mediterranean restaurant, Balaboosta.

This housewife can really cook

Though Balaboosta, the name of Einat Admony's latest restaurant, is Yiddish for "the perfect housewife," the name does not refer to Admony herself. The inspiration is actually drawn from Admony's aunt, whose portrait hangs on a wall in the dining room.

The warm Nolita space exudes the hospitality you'd expect from such a character, but Admony's Middle Eastern-Mediterranean menu--which is far more extensive that her falafel-driven offerings at Taïm--adds the touch of a seasoned professional.

The dishes impress from the start: Salty deep-fried olives in a creamy mound of labne and harissa oil ($6) draw from the chef's Iranian-Yemenite-Israeli heritage. Gazpacho ($9)--which substitutes melon for not-yet-in-season tomatoes--gets the added value of crunchy almond brittle and crispy onions.

Admony's talent extends to both land and sea; on our last trip, we enjoyed a special of strategically constructed crostini ($13) spread thick with herbed goat cheese and piled with arugula, olives and rings of calamari. In the shrimp kataïf ($13), the dainty sweetness of phyllo-wrapped shrimp is countered by a briny flying fish roe sauce.

But the star of the larger plates is undoubtedly a skirt steak ($25), which is fragrant with spices and seared to juicy excellence.

The steak (and some of our other favorite dishes) are making an early appearance on the just-launched lunch menu, so you can indulge whenever the craving strikes--which, we wager, will be often.

Balaboosta, 214 Mulberry St. (at Spring St.); 212-966-7366

Balaboosta 214 Mulberry St. New York NY 10012 212-966-7366

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