Timna: Israeli Cuisine On The Rise
Just beyond the hustle of New York's St. Marks Place, your next culinary adventure awaits. Spearheading the next big cuisine, Timna is a powerful and modern interpretation of Israeli food. Timna is led by a partnership between Chef Nir Mesika and Ori Apple (Hummus Place). Chef Mesika's menu showcases a unique and personal twist on Israeli cuisine, drawing influences from the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The interior is rustic and intimate. Steph and I didn't sit at the bar but I kind of wish we did. It seems like you'd have a lot more open space and you get a fresh view of the bar. Not that we had poor service but you might get more attentive service sitting from the bar area.
I don't read books. I read menus. Timna's menu was such a great read. At the time of our visit, Timna had an a la carte option. However, they have recently transitioned to a prix fixe only menu called "Feast in the Middle East" for $55 with an optional wine pairing for an additional $30. It seems like a decent amount of food. If you're like me and you prefer to curate your own meal, I feel like Timna should have at least a few items available for a la carte.
During our visit, we found that the appetizers were top-notch. Our favorites included the Kubaneh Bread and the Chestnut Cappuccino (no longer on the menu). Some ingredients on the menu are made in-house like some of their cheeses, breads, and desserts. Additionally, some items are sourced from abroad (e.g. tahini from Palestine). The flavor quality here is crazy impressive.
Note: The desserts look dope. Check those out. I would probably try the Burkuksh (Morrocan Rice Pudding with Saffron and Cinnamon, Honey and Sage Ice Cream, and Shredded Coconut) or the Pistachio Brûlée. Their drinks menu is also extensive and includes some wines from Israel.
Cuisine: Israeli, Mediterranean
Average Price per Person: $60 USD
Address: 109 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
Recommended: Kubaneh Bread, Chestnut Cappuccino, Cauliflower
Overall Rating: 3.5
FYI - I would have given it a score of 4/5 in terms of taste but I had to settle for 3.5/5 because of how the duck turned out. You can scroll down to the very bottom of this review to hear more about my rant.
Kubaneh Bread is a traditional Yemenite yeast bread. It's commonly found in Israel and is usually slow-baked overnight and eaten the next day. It is usually baked at a low temperature in a tight container so that it steams as it bakes.
Timna's Kubaneh Bread was presented in a little pot, which was cute. On the side, it came with Crushed Tomato, Crème Fraîche, and Jalapeño Salsa. The bread was so soft and fluffy! I am getting this every single time I visit Timna. [$12 USD]
The Cauliflower dish was quite good. The cauliflower seemed roasted and was dressed with a Curry Yogurt, Pickled Onions, Dried Grapes, Grilled Artichoke, and Puffed Quinoa.
The cauliflower was cooked perfectly and the accoutrements were delicious. The puffed quinoa was a lot of fun. I imagine that it's what a healthy rice crispy would taste like.
Thanks to the texture of the puffed quinoa, Steph and I were cleaning up all the last bits of yogurt and onion. [$14 USD]
The Chestnut Cappuccino was a crowd favorite. Steph had a hard time sharing this one. This "cappuccino" was made with Chestnut Soup, Milk Foam, and Black Winter Truffle. Wow.
This was seriously badass. I wish I could have this on every crazy NYC snow day. It was warm, creamy, nutty, and musky. [$10 USD]
Steph got the Fish Caponata with a Cherry Tomato Confit, Kalamata Olives, Green Zucchini, Fried Eggplant, Sweet Potato, Zucchini Flower Stuffed with Goat Cheese. The fish was soft and tasty on its own. I think that some of the other ingredients took away from the flavor of the fish, which I was hoping would be the star of the show.
The Zucchini Flower Stuffed with Goat Cheese was awesome. [$33 USD]
For my main course, I got the Moroccan Duck. It was prepared sous-vide style, which is a technique for cooking food (meats, fish, vegetables, whatever) in plastic bags in a water bath for periods of time ranging up to 72 hours. During the cooking time, the desired final temperature is set to cook evenly throughout the center of the food.
This method of cooking is useful in a bunch of different ways. Sous-vide avoids undercooking and overcooking. It also helps break down some of the thick lines of collagen in steak without using a ton of heat. Too much heat will cause the meat to toughen.
Timna's duck breast was flavored with a Five Spice Marinade, Ponzu, Barley Risotto, Seared Foie Gras in "Ras El Hanout" (a Moroccan spice blend). Everything was SOLID about this dish. BUT, that duck breast was tougher than THE ROCK. I'm not sure why it was so difficult to cut this. I was using a knife! If it's sous-vide why was it like that... [$39 USD]