There are, in New York, two types of Eyal Shani fans: those who frequent HaSalon every other weekend, a jubilant restaurant often filled with Long Islanders with a skewed view of what Manhattan nightlife can really offer, and others who admire the Israeli chef for the excellent cuisine he offers at restaurants like Miznon, North and Naked Tomato.
Alas, Shani's latest culinary endeavor seems to land squarely in the latter category of his empire. Shmone, a new 50-seat eatery set in a former sushi spot in Greenwich Village, is set to officially open this week, offering seasonal, market-driven cuisine in an intimate setting. In an official statement, the chef himself positions the new restaurant as a "middle ground between the exuberance of HaSalon and our street food-styled restaurant, Miznon."
The food, which Shani promises to cook "with what we find each morning," touches on the Middle Eastern, albeit with a modern flair.
Scallion-infused bourkas baked on hot stones and hot focaccias filled with tomatoes rich with sour cream are sure to become popular orders, ideally consumed alongside the "vegetable creatures" portion of the menu, which includes a white asparagus dish cooked on charcoal and doused with sour cream.
Calamari, a white-fish carpaccio, sweetbreads, hand-chopped lamb, kebabs with yogurt and a 60-day dry-aged prime rib steak round out the menu, which pairs well with the various wines on offer as well.
Clearly, unlike at HaSalon, the food is the star of the show at Shmone.
Decor-wise, you can expect Shmone to look like other Shani eateries: an open kitchen is the center piece of the venue, with bar seatings around it and a slew of tables surrounding the area.
The new restaurant's name, just like the rest of the endeavor, is pretty simple and straightforward as well: the word "shmone" means "eight" in Hebrew—a fitting moniker given the venue's location right on Eighth Street.
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