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Timna

PHOTOS: Noah Devereaux

We are all creatures of habit. It doesn’t matter how adventurous you think you are - it’s natural, unavoidable even, to fall into a routine. To snooze your alarm seven times every morning, to seamless the exact same thing to your apartment multiple times a week, to listen to the same thing at the gym every time you go because you’re too lazy to come up with a new playlist. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the familiar.

But sometimes, our routines get totally shaken up. We realize that if we order the Maki Combo from Sushi Tokyo II one more time, we may never be able to eat a spicy tuna roll again. Or we realize that we don't actually hate quiche.

Which is exactly what happened to us at Timna, where there’s something really exciting happening to Israeli food. This isn’t the kind place where you can fall back on your usual hummus and falafel habits. This is a place where you come to try something different, in the form of Israeli fusion.

Noah Devereaux

Timna is really only "Israeli" in the sense that it uses common Israeli elements in its dishes. So yes, there's tzatziki, but it's in a dish featuring raw tuna and quinoa. And that's what Timna does best: it takes dishes that have been done to death, combines them with something unexpected, and turns them into something else entirely. Bread isn’t just bread - it comes to the table in a flowerpot - and we had no idea we wanted a Chinese-Italian salad in an allegedly Israeli restaurant until we ate one.

Timna's space is a little one in the East Village, with enough red brick and air plants to look hip enough for your Friday night plans, but casual enough that you can roll in after work for an easy Tuesday night dinner. We are, however, obligated to tell you that Timna can be a bit of a sh*tshow. Waits are crazy, service is kind of absent, and we may or may or may not have had a light fixture fall onto our table. And yet, despite all of that, the food is good enough that we will happily return. Besides, lightning (or a light fixture) can't strike twice, right?

So the next time you’re in the mood to try something new, we’d suggest you get to Timna. Just be warned – it might become a habit.

Food Rundown

Kubaneh Bread

You will be pressured into ordering this. Do as you’re told. This is kind of like challah, only lighter and fluffier, and – the kicker – is served in a flowerpot, with cheese and crushed tomatoes for spreading.

The Cauliflower

Nothing revolutionary about this cauliflower, but excellent nonetheless. We’d like to keep a batch of the curried tahini sauce in our fridge at all times.

Chinatown Salad

Any “salad” with noodles in it is already off to a great start. The mix of asparagus tempura, gingery pesto, and glass noodles is a refreshing counterpoint to the richer things that should be on your table.

Mediterranean Sashimi

Sashimi on quinoa might sound like a pretentious nightmare, but it’s actually great, and weirdly fun to eat. The dehydrated beets add an unexpected sweet kick, and the tzatziki sauce ties the whole thing together really well. This is the dish that sold us on Timna.

Seared Scallops

Incredibly rich – almost too rich. These are served with freekah risotto and a creamy sauce that tastes suspiciously like Alfredo. Not that we’re complaining.

Lamb Shishbarak

This is essentially pulled lamb tortellini, with pine nuts and lamb pancetta. Not optional.

Moroccan Harira Stew

Contrary to what the name might suggest, this dish consists of a few big ravioli stuffed with pumpkin and ricotta. Fine enough, but if you’re going to order one of the pasta-like things on the menu, make it the Shishbarak.

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