We've got a handful of spots that we like in Hell's Kitchen, and Taboon is one of our absolute favorites. That says a lot for the food, considering the restaurant itself lacks most qualities of a typical Infatuation Approved establishment. It's pricey and a little stuffy, and the music they play is an unlistenable combination of Greek lounge music and Yanni remixes. Oh yeah, and it's on 10th Avenue. But what Taboon lacks in cool, it more than makes up for with top quality Mediterranean eats and good service.
A taboon is an Arabic word for a wood-burning oven, and the one in the front of this restaurant turns out some damn tasty food. Things that swim seem to benefit the most from the taboon treatment - all of the fish entrees here are excellent, and the octopus and lamb kebab pot pie should not be missed. They also bake an amazing fresh focaccia and serve it on a paddle, which I then use to jam the entire loaf down my throat at once. More please.
Prices are a little steep, so Taboon probably shouldn't be in your heavy rotation, but we recommend spending the extra bucks if you're in the area looking for a solid meal.
One of the waiters tried telling me this is the best hummus in the city. I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely solid. There's a little cumin and paprika in there, and it's a good-sized serving. Eat it with the fresh focaccia if you have any left on the table.
A slammin' appetizer of grilled octopus with julienned apples and some pickled onions. Easily one of the best octopus dishes in town. Order this.
As previously mentioned, the fish entrees at Taboon are excellent. This whole branzino unfortunately comes without the head, but it's light and flavorful. The roast eggplant on the plate doesn't suck either.
A piece of halibut cooked in a cast iron pan in the taboon, and then brought directly to your table. The fish is delicate and perfect, and it sits on a really nice ragout of roasted red pepper. This is my favorite thing on the menu.
Really good hanger steak marinated in zataar, a Mediterranean spice that makes shit taste good. Another standout from the meat group.
Terra Cotta Lamb Kebabs
Not just lamb kebabs - lamb inside of a "Mediterranean pot pie." Also inside this dome of pleasure? Tomatoes, charred onions, and pine nuts. Do it.