I have always been a big fan of Einat Admony's inventive work, from her falafel at Taim to the "mortar and pestle" hummus at Balaboosta to the cauliflower with Bamba at Bar Bolonat. Now, Admony is making her mark with a new type of cuisine at Combina (330 W. Broadway, 212-226-1248).
The SoHo spot offers a unique take on Israeli and Spanish food in a bright, colorful space that's both casual and refined -- perfect to hit on a date or with friends after work.
To start, I went for the mussels ($13). No, not the usual moules frites, but canned pickled mussels flown in straight from Spain. They were meaty and dense, packed in a flavorful oil that paired perfectly with the matzo that came on the side. It deeply satisfied my inner Jew.
Other menu standouts included the sweet and spicy harissa-honey drumsticks ($13), which were messy and fiery. I also loved the eggplant escabeche ($14), which was tangy and creamy with a serious dollop of yogurt. The winter squash ($12) was a nice ode to the season with crunchy chopped peanuts, while the shrimp a la plancha ($18) was served with heads and shells -- a fun experience to pull apart and suck out the preserved lemon sauce.
There was lots of finger licking here. Good thing they provide wet naps.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.