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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Kish Kash: Authentic Couscous in NYC
Photo: Liz Rueven

Kish Kash: Authentic Couscous in NYC

Here’s a bit of warming winter advice if you’re chillin’ in NYC this season: Forget everything you know (and probably don’t like) about boxed couscous. Now head over to the west village to warm up in Israeli superstar chef, Einat Admony’s intimate restaurant called Kish Kash.

You’ll find a bright and casual cafe where hand-rolled couscous (finely textured semolina) is the star accompaniment to any of six toppings with roots in North African Jewish cuisine. The big bonus: the meat and chicken are all kosher and no dairy is served.

I am so excited!

Kish Kash NYC kosher restaurant
Photo used with permission via Kish Kash

No stress over complicated menus. No pretense over haughty ingredients. This tight menu (six couscous offerings) is Admony at her best, addressing her longing for authentic Moroccan couscous by creating a delightful and sunny space that may be the first couscous cafe in NYC.

A circus of brightly colored pots keep comforting stews simmering through lunch and dinner service with a variety of meat, chicken, fish and vegetarian toppings. These unfussy preparations range in price from $12-$21 and may be paired with any (likely ALL) of the three side dishes served in small saucers (Israeli style) and chosen as counterpoints to the saucy, homestyle tagines.

At $3.00 each you don’t have to choose between pickled veggies, chirchi (warm, mashed butternut squash with harissa, garlic and lemon) and matboucha (slow simmered tomatoes with a touch of chili heat).

Begin with any of the three starters, some of which rotate.

Kish Kash kosher hummus NYC
Photo: Liz Rueven

It’s impossible to pass up the hummus from any kitchen where this Israeli chef is at the helm. Kish Kash’s version is served with slices of challah delivered to the table in mini paper bags. Chermoula, an herbaceous  and slightly spicy blended condiment, adds a little heat and color.

cauliflower at Kish Kash kosher restaurant NYC
Photo: Liz Rueven

Fans of Admony’s falafel shops, Taim, and her newly re-located cafe, Balaboosta, know to expect something special if cauliflower is on the menu. She delivers with this generous plate, piled high with crispy florets tossed with pickled raisins, pine nuts and tahini.

Don’t judge the pickled raisins until you try them. I think I’m hooked.

 

kosher short ribs with couscous Kish Kash NYC
Photo: Liz Rueven

Couscous is the big story here and it’s given it’s due by sitting side by side rather than under the toppings.

Fall- off -the bone short ribs (above) are nestled in gravy with tender white beans and stewed swiss chard. Chraime (first photo), branzino simmered in a traditional Sephardic sauce of tangy/spicy tomatoes, garlic, paprika, was one of my favorites.

kosher lamb at Kish Kash NYC
Photo: Liz Rueven

Chunks of boneless lamb are slightly tangy/slightly sweet in a gravy of stewed apricots, prunes and raisins.

Chicken Tagine, Mafrum, and Moroccan Vegetables round out the other three choices with something for everyone, including the vegetarians at the table.

As I sat nestled into my sunny window seat, ordering a load of dishes to taste (and pack for leftovers) I chatted with two couples who rotated in and out of the table next to mine. Tables are close, but not too close and the quantity of dishes on my table may have aroused some curiosity. A communal table of 14 co-workers, on the other side of the intimate space, dug in enthusiastically to dishes they were sharing.

Admony’s relaxed presentations, unpretentious, home style cooking and open kitchen all contribute to getting to your neighbors at the next table. Her choice to use kosher meat is an exciting one for me and lots of my readers.

Thank you, Einat!

dairy free dessert Kish Kash NYC
Basbousa (semolina cake) with berry compote.Photo: Liz Rueven

Kish Kash

455 Hudson St., NYC

Kish Kash serves kosher meat (no dairy) but does not have a kosher certification.

Want more of a taste from Einat’s kitchen? Watch for our upcoming post with a recipe for Chicken Tagine from her first cookbook, Balaboosta.

 

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