214 Mulberry St. New York, NY 10012 • (212) 966-7366 • balaboostanyc.com
Having been a HUGE fan of the Taiim Falafel truck for years, I finally made my way to Balaboosta and it did not disappoint.
First, I love the décor. Nothing fancy or lavish, but done in a way so as to hint to its name. Balaboosta means “homemaker” and there are accents in the dining room to suggest just that- that you are in someone’s home. The shelves speckled with knickknacks and books and wine. Or over the kitchen pass through, jars of pasta and beans as though you were in someone’s kitchen. All done tastefully, not gimmicky.
Then there’s the service, which we also loved. Our waiter was great with the recommendations, friendly and attentive.
And most importantly, the food. By far the best thing we had was the ceviche served with mint, hot peppers and pistachios. Such a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. In second place, a three-way tie. The Hana cocktail made with arack is VERY nice, especially for those who like Turkish Raki (which we do). Another hit was the short rib empañada which is moist and marinated with a yogurt sauce inside. And the last member of the tie, the banana bread pudding with frozen yogurt for dessert. I am a sucker for bread pudding and bananas so admittedly I was an easy target on this one.
Bringing up the rear would be the salad with artichokes, which was good, but it is just a salad. The crispy cauliflower which is also good, but it’s quite large and not as good as the reviews crack it up to be. If you truly want a dish like this to rock your world ask for the off menu version at Tamarind. Or the cauliflower version that Illili makes when B-sprouts are out of season.
Oh, and the rib eye skewers, which were cooked perfectly, I will concede, but a touch boring by comparison to everything else.
But putting all the small nits aside, Balaboosta deserves mad mazels- especially on that ceviche.