I won’t begin my first restaurant review for the Campus Clipper (or, for that matter, any publication) trying to prove myself a sophisticated and highly knowledgeable epicure. Fact is, my diet would make most advocates of slow food and other digestive movements cry. Not that I don’t admire them for some of the amazing things being done with food in this city and elsewhere, but I must be forthright and admit that I am typically a lazy eater when it comes to refining my palate, at least when I am at the helm of the kitchen. So, the opportunity for me to write a review of a restaurant might seem like an odd pairing, but my own laziness with food does not make me ignorant to its tastiness, and I consider myself an open-minded eater, and someone willing to seek out a quality dining experience (so long as someone else is cooking). I hope my reviews will be an honest account of a student dining, and not an attempt to strive for something more than it is, so that you will know what places are great for the student budget and belly.
For my first assignment I was given the opportunity to dine at Nanoosh, a restaurant self-described as “an organic take on classic Mediterranean.” Upon arriving, I walked into the sleek and modern dining room, boasting streamlined wooden tables and paneling offset by grey and green tiling, giving the restaurant an oddly comforting spa-like feel. What most caught my attention upon entering, however, was the large glass and metal centerpiece strung above the main dining table in the center of the restaurant. This piece, forming an oval shape from the convergence of two parenthesis-like glass windows, was filled with chickpeas, and immediately I knew I was in a place that was serious about hummus. After my initial impression, I was seated and began reading my menu, focusing on their signature hummus plates, and ultimately opted for the hummus nanoosh, which is a dish of hummus with ground beef, organic onions, organic mushrooms, and tahini. Following the recommendation of my server, Rita, I also ordered the lebane, a traditional soft cheese from strained yogurt served with extra-virgin olive oil and zaatar, a traditional herb mixture.
Be pleasantly forewarned; although the dishes on Nanoosh’s menu are all moderately priced, they are large, and more than enough for a single person. The hummus nanoosh and lebane are each served with a basket of warm, thick, and doughy pita breads that are still hardly enough to scoop up all the goodness on the table. As for the food itself, the hummus was very creamy and smooth, almost fluffy in texture, and well complemented by the mound of caramelized onions, ground beef, and sautéed mushrooms. Though the hummus was very good, I was most anticipating the lebane, a dish I had never tried before, and based off the recommendation of my server, had high expectations for. Well, it certainly met all my expectations. The lebane was tart and creamy, and served spread around the edge a shallow bowl surrounding a pool of seasoned olive oil. When all mixed together on one of Nanoosh’s pita breads, it was a tasty experience.
Having completely stuffed myself, I was then asked if I would like dessert, and, well, why not? I chose the organic Mediterranean honey and walnut yogurt, which is, simply enough, a dish of yogurt served with syrupy swirls of honey and generously chopped walnuts sprinkled on top. Like the lebane, the yogurt was also creamy and tart, but with the swirls of honey, was also very sweet. The walnuts added an excellent crunchiness to the dish to balance the soupy consistency of the yogurt. After thinking I had no possible room left for dessert, I was surprised at how light this dish was, and ended the meal nicely without feeling overstuffed.
Nanoosh is a perfect choice for those who are hummus enthusiasts, or for anyone looking to try something new. Prices are very affordable, as a dinner for two ranges from about $25-$30. They also have multiple locations throughout Manhattan so you are never too far away from getting your Mediterranean fix.
111 University Place (btw. 12th & 13th)
Derek Parsons donotmindifido.tumblr.com