The corner of West Broadway and Grand Street has seen some shit—shit fusion, at least. The boxy, glass-enclosed space that occupies that Soho corner was formerly home to Taka Taka, a conveyer-belt kitsch-en that dispensed such culture-smelting atrocities as Mexican sushi and Japanese tacos.
The cultural blurrings at play at the space’s successor, Combina, however, are graciously of a more sophisticated sort. That’s because Combina’s Israel-meets-Spain menu is the brainchild of Einat Admony, the empress of multiethnic Middle Eastern charmers Bar Bolonat, Balaboosta and Taïm falafel shops. (Molly Breidenthal joins Admony in the kitchen as executive chef.)
As the daughter of an Iranian mother and a Yemeni father, border-crossing cooking seems second nature to Admony. With kitchen time spent at Spanish-trilled Bolo and Patria, she exhibits a relaxed ease that allows for lively irreverence on the plate.
Kick off with Iberian cod fritters, translated here as plucky little doughnuts with a smoky smear of paprika aioli ($15), or a small crock of eggplant escabeche fragrant with pickled garlic and fronds of dill and dolloped with thick yogurt ($14). (Your sole pan will be the size of the accompanying baguette, much too miniscule to scrape up all that tang.) The morcilla here rivals Lupulo’s superb fava-spotted version, brazenly dark and musky atop a bed of piquillo peperonata ($18).
A paella inspired by Lebanese mujadara (a lentil dish pockmarked with onions) is a clever revision ($28), but the simple, tender lamb chops ($32), equally Sephardic and Spanish in harissa-charged romesco, prove this union is of the blessed kind.