Rintintin

14 Spring St. New York, NY 10012(646) 666-0114rintintinnyc.com

best-middle-eastern-restaurants

While the name is likely to evoke imagery of a German Shepherd, there is nothing German, nor Shepard-like about the restaurant. And being that I was a fan of Bon Marche, I was sad to see that it had been replaced. Well, I was sad until I tried the food, which is even better than its predecessor.  I’m guessing the space must’ve left some good juju for this newbie, because the good vibes were abundant from top to bottom.

First off, the decor is much more open. The space is still small and charming, with nice touches like giant palm leaf arrangements and cymbals as lighting fixtures. And the service, while being a one man show from bartender to host, and waiter in between, managed to outdo many who only have a third of the task.

For drinks we did the cucumber gimlet made with arak (anis arabic booze), which was very refreshing almost like the cucumber water you would get in a spa, only with alcohol in it. And the other cocktail was the spicy cucumber margarita. It was also good, but not as impressive as one would hope, granted I’m part dragon when it comes to my tolerance for heat.

For an appetizer we split a burrata special served with a colorful spectrum of heirloom tomatoes, garlic roasted eggplant and proscuitto. If you should be so lucky as to see it offered when you go, I highly recommend. The garlicky eggplant and the salty dried ham make the dish something special. Ask for extra bread as well. It’s a thin focaccia perfect for sopping up the oil and balsamic remnants. But try to show some restraint, because there is much ahead worth saving room for.

The best of which is the burger. An eclectic mix of flavors from its pita bread bun and harissa topping to a queso fresco option (which I recommend), cayenne aioli and ketchup. It was crazy messy and just as crazy good. As were the crinkled potatoes they serve them with.

Another winner was the quinoa salad with avocado and lemon. It’s light and refreshing, but nothing you can’t find at a Le Pain Quotidien.

The only miss we had was the chicken cilantro soup. It was woefully bland both in terms of salt and spice. Even after adding copious amounts of both it was still only just okay.

And now for the closer… The churros are churrmendous! Both in size and execution. Crispy on the outside, soft and nummy, nummy on the inside. Served with a caramel dipping sauce and vanilla ice cream, both of which need to be used in tandem in order to achieve the maximum effect. And by maximum effect I mean on your belt holes, because by the time you leave here you will be on the very last one.

4 teeth

Bombay Sandwich Co.

48 W 27th St. New York, NY 10001(646) 781-9756bombaysandwichco.com

6384

The globalization of food has to be the greatest thing to happen since the industrial revolution. It has changed everything from accessibility to diversity to the creation of hybrid cuisines, which brings me to the Indian sandwich. Indigenous to nowhere, but awesome nonetheless. Case in point, Bombay Sandwich Company.

The Chana Masala (pictured) borrows from its namesake, the traditional New Delhi dish, and puts that glory to work between two slices of ciabatta that could even make MIA go OMG.

Another sandwich reincarnation is the grilled cheese with honey and fennel. It’s so inventive, yet simple, and different from anything else out there. Plus, it packs a nice amount of heat to keep your longings for vindaloo at bay.

Another great sammy of the spice is the Veggie Mash Up. A vegan among vegetarian options that holds its own by combining beets, cabbage, carrots and a few other things into a, you guessed it, mash.

Even their quinoa salad was fantastic. And once again with twist on the norm using chutney of all things. It played such a nice contrast to the lemony dressing, the earthy grain and the leafy kale. So simple, but I’ve never seen it done before and never would’ve even thought to do it. But now I’m about to go all Hindu on my lettuce from here on out.

Though gush as I may, Bombay is not infallible. Skip the sweet potato and kale wrap. It’s just so-so. And the Organic Tofu Masala sandwich was the worst of the lot. However, with the hit ratio above, I’d say just about any sandwich shop in the city would envy that performance.

4 teeth