Spot Dessert BarI LOVE Israeli food and it has become very popular in London, largely thanks to Yotam Ottolenghi. He groomed several chefs who have moved on to open spots like one of my London top picks, Palomar. So when I read about Timna, the new Israeli place in NY I had to try it.
Timna is cute and charming and appropriately located on St Marks place in the East Village. It sounded like the perfect place for a catch-up with my dear friend Kama. She had not tried Israeli food before, so was also looking forward to Timna.
What we ate:
Kubaneh bread: I think the bread at Palomar is one of the best breads I have ever tried and had heard that Timna’s bread was also delicious. They bake the bread fresh in a clay flowerpot with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. The bread has a mellow sweetness and we ate the entire thing, pulling every piece apart and using either the amazingly fresh crushed tomatoes or the yoghurt and jalapeno salsa or the two combined. We also ordered the burrata as a starter and it was a perfect pairing with the bread.
Burrata: with charred beets, crushed tomatoes, charred baby leeks and a balsamic reduction. Kama is a big burrata fan and I love it too, but I think it is a little overplayed and featured on every menu.The two guys next to us had ordered and we asked how it was and they strongly recommended it. And they were right. The burrata could have been slightly softer but it worked perfectly with the nicely grilled baby leeks and the beets. The balsamic reduction was sweet but not overly so and the whole dish was devoured in combination with the warm bread.
Sashimi: Mediterranean sashimi of cured sushi grade melt in your mouth tuna with green tabouli, tzatziki and beet leather. This dish has been on the menu since the restaurant opened six months ago and now we know why! This dish was superb, the quality of the fish was flawless and the tabouli had a nice crunch and the green tzatziki was light and delicate. The beet leather was just a paper thin beet, with a texture that was more like jerky. Chewy……but interesting.
Short rib ragu: we had asked one of the waiters to pace our meal and despite the request, the beef and the tuna came at the same time – which was unfortunate as we wanted the tuna first (cold) and then the beef. When we asked our waitress she said: you didn’t ask me so nothing I can do. If you want I can take the tuna away and bring it back after”. Really? Not so helpful but the beef was amazingly tender and the corn polenta cloud with chanterelle, shimeji and aged parmesan was tasty. The dish was overall a bit sweeter than I would have wanted, and not a must order like the other things we had.
Chocolate pudding: the pudding was on a shallow plate and was slightly too sweet and the nougat ice cream didn’t have a distinct flavour. The popcorn shake was tasty but too thick, and the bananas were slightly mushy.
Pistachio brûlée: I am not usually a brûlée fan (apart from the miso walnut one at Jinjuu in London) but the fact that it came with doughnuts made us order it. It was served with liquorice jam and figs, and these last two elements should have been the clue for us not to order. There were just too many strong flavours that didn’t work well together. We should have gone to Spot Dessert Bar but we had been distracted chatting with the British couple next to us and didn’t focus on the first dessert and felt compelled to order a second one to keep our newly delivered wine glasses company.
In sum: cute restaurant in the East Village with tasty starters and entrees, but service could be better and the desserts are not as good as the starters. The bread, burrata and sashimi were great but the short rib and desserts didn’t blow us away.
109 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009, United States