Bustan: An Ode To NYC's Mediterranean Dining Scene

Bustan: An Ode To NYC's Mediterranean Dining Scene

Elevating the Upper West Side’s restaurant scene, one plate of hummus at a time, modern Israeli restaurant, Bustan, has recently announced the arrival of their new Executive Chef and Partner Rafael Hasid. An alum of the French Culinary Institute, Hasid has cooked at some of the city’s top restaurants including Pere Pinard and Yamato, and now owns some of Brooklyn’s most beloved hot spots: Miriam, Wolf & Deer, and Bergen Dean. Thanks to his creative mind, extensive experience and skillful hands, Bustan has quickly become one of Mahattan’s most irresistible hotspots and a lead in terms of high-end cuisine, full-bodied Mediterranean flavor, and seductive Brooklyn charm.

One of Hasid’s first moves was to create a killer and deliciously unexpected Mediterranean Brunch Menu. Favorites, made with love in Bustan's custom wood-fired 360 degree-rotating Taboon oven include: the Burekas Breakfast (two eggs any style served with burekas, flavorful taboon-baked pouches of feta cheese and olives wrapped in crispy, sesame seed-sprinkled phyllo dough) and Gluten-Free Potato Latkes (topped with smoked salmon are joined on the plate by eggs and a side of lebaneh). Both light, flavorful, spiced and with a hint of eclectic zest that we so adore, these early-bird dishes are ideal for your chic and hearty Sunday morning meal.

Dinner, of course, has also been revamped, and recreated with the concept of family-style dining. Every dish is made to share, and guests are encouraged to try a little bit of everything – which we personally believe is the best way to eat, any day. The spot’s “Mazettim” section (which has been significantly expanded) features small sharable plates such as the mouthwatering Taboon Charred Octopus – topped with white bean masabacha, crushed tomatoes and tahini amongst other things – and a spiced hummus which, to be quite honest is the best we’ve had in NYC as of yet. Each dish comes with a side of warm doughy pita bathed in rich olive oil and spiced with a hint of organic rosemary that not only compliments the meal, but takes it a whole step higher. 

If you’re looking for a more robust, meaty dish, Bustan’s all-time favorite Taboon Baked Whole Branzino is moist, crispy, cooked to perfection and boldly seasoned with fresh herbs and spices straight from the lands of the Mediterranean. A must for any seafood aficionado. 

While every dish was extraordinary in terms of fearless seasoning, exotic earthly mixtures, and olive-infused creamy delights, the last entrée we tasted was the true winner. Chef Rafael Hasid’s Lamb Terracotta was a glorious ode to Mediterranean cuisine and a godly offering to all lamb-lovers out there. Featuring spiced ground lamb kebab, charred onion, roasted peppers, oregano, and pistachio among other luscious ingredients, the entire dish was served inside a flaky baked bread dome, and cut open before our very eyes. Overcome by a wave of warm lamb mist, the heavenly scent of cooked spices and the divine taste of steaming hot lamb roast – the awe we felt while eating this dish is beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. 

It’s been a week since our tahini-loving palates last enjoyed the offerings of this Uptown Mediterranean gem, and we cannot wait to go back for a spicy feast of smoky lamb casserole. There’s no doubt in our minds that Chef Hasid has created a winner. 

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