Kid-friendly snack foods are not a new concept at restaurants around the city.
These days you can satisfy your Doritos cravings at Taco Bell and get your Fritos fix at Cowgirl (whose Frito pie is served in the snack bag). For dessert, you can even go to A Salt and Battery for a deep-fried Mars Bar.
But Einat Admony is doing something different at her newly opened Bar Bolonat (611 Hudson St, 212-390-1545, barbolonatny.com). The chef — you may know her as the chef and owner of Balaboosta and Taïm — is incorporating the classic Israeli snack Bamba into one of her offerings. (Bamba, for those of you who don’t know, is basically a puffy peanut butter-flavored Cheeto.)
What separates the Everyday Cauliflower dish from orange-tinged tacos and sticky fried candy bars is that Admony has managed to maintain refinement amidst the nostalgia: the Bamba is so attractive and finessed, you might even mistake it for some cool, molecular gastronomical invention.
“Every Israeli grew up eating Bamba,” says the chef (though even us foreigners can appreciate the appeal). In the dish, the Bamba are sliced up in little coins and layered over the top of fried cauliflower; the peanut-y crunch brings out the savory flavors of the tahini lining the bottom.
And this is just a sample of the vibrant menu at Bar Bolonat. You won’t find an Oreo in the tagine or Dipsy Doodles in the curry, but everything is flavorful and delicious, especially the Jerusalem bagel, served with rich, fruity olive oil and earthy za’atar.
To keep things spirited, pair everything with a Shiksa — comprised of Stoli vodka, Lillet, rhubarb and preserved lemon syrup — or a Goldstar, which, like Bamba, is native to Israel.
Ariel Kanter is an editor at Gilt City.