Few things will get me above 14th Street on the weekends except the promise of a good meal. Taboon has been on my radar for awhile after reading a few positive reviews about the tasty Mediterranean fare so my friend Molly and I made the trek to Hell’s Kitchen after being invited in for brunch.
Molly is a fellow food enthusiast and recently brought her passion for chowing down and exploring New York City as a contributor to Off the Menu, a new app that highlights off menu items in various cities.
Hell’s Kitchen is a still a bit gritty so I was pleasantly surprised by Taboon’s upscale, airy interior. The restaurant is spacious with plenty of outdoor seating, which slowly filled over the course of our meal.
We were both Fit Bitches that morning having completed a FitBallet class prior to meeting so we came to Taboon with an appetite. We quickly ordered the necessities – coffee and mimosas – and reviewed the menu. Taboon offers a bottomless deal for $18, which doesn’t include the price of an entree, but still pretty reasonable if you want to imbibe in more than a few bevvies. Also of note, this is a bit pricier brunch option; many of the brunch entrees cost around $18-$20.
Taboon’s brunch menu does have some American classics such as Benedicts and French toast, but we stuck with authentic Mediterranean fare which comprises the majority of the menu. Many of the main dishes are cooked in a taboon, the restaurant’s namesake with is basically a domed oven.
Who doesn’t love a good dip? We started our meal with a trio of ethnic dips, which were served with fresh pita and sliced cucumbers per our request. We sampled the housemade hummus, tzaziki, and taramosalata, basically a Middle Eastern caviar made from fish roe. All of these spreads were delicious, but I particularly loved the salty, slightly fishy flavors of thetaramosalata. We had to remind ourselves to not fill up on bread because of our impending feast. These dips ended up being our favorite bites of the meal.
Next to the table was the sabeech, which was a flatbread made from the taboon piled high with crushed tomatoes, eggplant, hummus, amba, tahini, red onion, and a brown egg. All of the ingredients really weighed down the thin bread and the tahini sauce made the dish quite soggy. It was very messy to eat and we ended up knife-and-forking it and basically just eating the toppings.
Molly and I both love poached eggs and veggies so ordering the Morning Glory was a no brainer. The plate contained eggs, broccolini, and roasted tomatoes on challah bread with a yogurt mint sauce. The eggs were poached perfectly and the veggies were well-roasted, but we thought this dish could have been more flavorful.
We were really excited about the green shakshuka, a traditional baked egg dish. Taboon’s spin on the classic is all in the sauce — creamed spinach, cheese, artichoke, and white truffle oil. Unfortunately, we found that this dish was similarly lacking in seasoning. I was looking forward to that truffle!
We expected bold regional flavors in these dishes, but none of the main dishes were standouts. The highlight of the meal was the dips, fresh taboon bread, and the company of course.
The Bitches say: Three Champagne flutes. A beautiful neighborhood spot with interesting, authentic Mediterranean brunch options, but we weren’t particularly blown away by any of our entrees.
Taboon serves brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.