Monday, January 11, 2010

Taim: A Little Taste of the Promised Land in NYC

Ever since I read Janna Gur's The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey I've been dying to taste some great Israeli food.
Our recent trip to NYC gave us the perfect change to get an intro to some of the standards. A cold, windy day found us running from the Sheridan Square subway station to Taim (Ta-eem) at 222 Waverly Pl. In a minuscule space that seats all of 8 people; we found some amazing food.
Our first concern however, was that there was no place to sit, and no place to stand inside. We were hungry and cold; our numb brains couldn't fathom going out again and finding another place to eat. We sized-up the handful of patrons and figured 1) no one seemed ready to leave and 2) no one spoke Spanish; so we preceded to revert to that language to express our frustration and befuddlement to each other. The guy sitting by the door shocked us out of our murmuring by asking us in Spanish if we'd like his spot, as he was ready to go. Lesson: when in New York, never, ever, think that your conversation is private or unintelligible to others.

Grateful to our kind paisano we grabbed the two stools at the counter and settled in for lunch. Oh, one more glitch: They don't take plastic, a quick jog across the street to the pizza parlour's ATM solved that.

Taim is vegetarian, basically salads, falafel, and smoothies. But it is SO wonderful; it's all fresh and delicious. We ordered a plate with their creamy hummus, topped with some amazing tahini. You can choose a trio of salads to accompany it and the pita. We included the Israeli Salad, Tunisian Eggplant Salad and Tabbouleh. Taim has three kinds of falafel; red, green and Tunisian. We ordered the green. It's prepared fresh, fried up on the spot and has a beautiful crisp layer and a perfectly done and fragrant inside. This ain't the Falafel King!

The food is perfect for a light meal. It is very inexpensive; it borders on street-food. In fact, I can't wait to come back here in the summer and order take-out; it would be perfect food for strolling the great neighborhood.

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