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6.3
NYC

Balaboosta

It's Wednesday night, and you're meeting up with an old friend for dinner. It's a busy week, so you've left the restaurant choice up to said friend, with very few stipulations - "something easy, near the subway, maybe around Nolita or something?"

Eventually, this friend hits you back with the plan - Balaboosta, 7:30 pm.

"Hmm, haven't been there in a few years. Is that place still any good?"

We wondered the same thing - and after several visits a few years back, made our way back to Balaboosta recently.

The verdict? The food is pretty good, but it's not a place you need to go out of your way to return to. There are simply newer, more fun places to spend $80 on dinner in this city.

If you do go, you'll definitely still enjoy the modern Israeli food - most dishes are well-cooked and pretty tasty, much the same as it was when the restaurant first opened. The overall scene, though, feels a little stale. While tables are still full and the noise level remains high, the place just doesn't have the buzz and vibes to bring us back again soon.

Put it this way: if your friend forwards you the OpenTable booking they've already made for Balaboosta, you don't need to protest. But if you're the one making the plans, you can do better.

Food Rundown

Hummus "Mortar And Pestle"

It's hummus and pita, and you're probably going to order it. We won't stop you.

Smoked Eggplant Bruschetta

Essentially baba ganoush on toast. Much like the restaurant itself, it's pleasant enough but not super memorable.

Shrimp Kataif

Shrimp wrapped in fried bits of phyllo and served with a creamy tobiko sauce, this is one of the more interesting dishes on the menu. Also a reminder that this restaurant is Israeli-inspired, but definitely not kosher.

Red Snapper

Are you the kind of person who likes to order a "nice piece of fish"? Served with a spicy red sauce and some feta, it's not a revelation, but it will be satisfying enough.

Boneless Organic Half Chicken "Under a Brick"

A simple (and large) chicken dish, served with some Israeli couscous. Again:, familiar, pleasant, etc.

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