If you want falafel, go to Mamoun’s. You won’t find the chickpea spheres anywhere at Nur, the forward-thinking, pan–Middle Eastern restaurant in Gramercy from Israeli-Moroccan celebutoque Meir Adoni (of Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Blue Sky and Lumina) and Breads Bakery founder Gadi Peleg.
Instead, Adoni stretches beyond Israeli comfort cooking to pull influences from all over the Levant, from Jewish and Arab traditions as well as his own North African roots. (Nur is a word found in both Hebrew and Arabic, meaning “light.” It’s a fitting name for a 60-seat brasserie-style room that positively glows.)
This melange of influences can be seen (and tasted) in every dish on the menu. The Sryian Caesar takes the classic salad of romaine and adds cruciferous veggies before tossing with toasted challah croutons and an anchovy-za'atar dressing. The Frishman Beach takes the classic pairing of watermelon and feta to new heights by adding on Moroccan olives and curry oil.
The restaurant’s excellent breads, all produced at Breads Bakery, include a yeasty, oblong Jerusalem bagel served alongside a fresh pool of lima-bean messbaha and a soft, supple kubaneh with green Yemenite schug. Save pieces of those loaves to drag through the sauces and dressings of later-in-the-meal plates such as a lovely carpaccio of fire-roasted eggplant fitted with feta, pistachios and sweet date syrup and plump, pan roasted octopus warmed with black and white tahinis.
As proud and vibrant a melting pot as the city it’s in, Nur is a front-runner in boosting Middle Eastern as one of NYC’s most exciting cuisines.
34 E 20th St
|Cross street:||between Park Ave S and Fifth Ave|
|Opening hours:||Daily 5–11pm|
|Price:||Average main course: $27|
|Do you own this business?|