Rare is the day that I walk away from a meal and say “that was AMAZING”.
Well, a few days ago, I uttered those words many times over. The dinner was at Timna, and I recommend you add it to your list of must-try spots. Modern Mediterranean fare that’s both beautiful and delicious? Sign me up.
Timna is a small, unassuming spot in the East Village – on St Marks, of all blocks. The vibe is a little cozy and a lot friendly; it almost feels like it doesn’t belong on a street that also houses hot dogs, dive bars, and dumplings. Regardless, the place was packed by the time we left, so it’s clearly not suffering from odd location issues.
Here’s what I recommend: go here on a date, or with someone who really enjoys food presented in new and unique ways. I maintain that this food isn’t for everyone, but I bet if you brought out some of these dishes and served it to 5 people, all blindfolded, 4 out of 5 would still agree it’s delicious. Looks can be deceiving…remember that.
Timna - East Village
- Kubaneh Bread. This bread is like a cross between challah and a croissant. I feel like that’s a good comparison. It’s served with crushed tomato, creme fraiche, and jalapeno salsa. It’s amazing and you must start your meal with it.
- The Cauliflower. I think when things start with “the” it makes it sound definitive. Like this is THE ONLY cauliflower. And in this case, I think it deserves a “the” at the beginning of it. It was amazing – with curry yogurt, grilled artichokes, raisins, pickled onion, and puffed quinoa.
- Burratush. I love burrata, no matter how you serve it, but this was definitely a first. The smoked onion powder on top of it is BLACK, so it looks like someone grated a piece of charcoal over it. It’s really cool. The grilled peaches, figs, and balsamic vinegar were delicious and bright as well. No complaints here.
- Shrimp Waldorf. Have you ever had shrimp sausage? Me neither, but it was delicious. I liked it served over the ever-so-finely chopped apples, celery, red onion, and walnuts (a twist on the classic Waldorf salad).
- Tartare Bite. This was SO interesting. It was lamb tartare served inside a teeny tiny fried puff. The texture play was wonderful, but I can see if you’re a purist, this may not be how you want to eat tartare. But look how beautiful!
- Crab & Egg. Hands down this was one of my favorites – the crab is sauteed in brown butter, served over a gnocchi patty of sorts, and topped with a literal fried egg. Not a flat fried egg you get on a sandwich. This was a soft-boiled egg, then somehow fried. My mind was blown.
- Mediterranean Sashimi. Another favorite of mine, and I didn’t think it would be. Cured tuna, green tabouli, tzatziki, and “crispy beet leather”. This was like an uber-thin beet cracker – dip it into the sauce ever so delicately, as it will break easily. This was one of those dishes that had a lot going on, yet everything worked and nothing was superfluous.
- Smoked Lamb Belly. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this. It’s VERY lamb-y. I know I just used the word superfluous and now I said “lamb-y”, but that’s the best I can describe it. If you love lamb, then you might be into this, but it was a little too strong for me. That said, the skin was delicious and it was perfectly tender.
- Bedouin Octopus. I’ve had so much octopus lately, I really can’t even judge a good one anymore. But, I can tell you that my favorite part of this dish may have been the grilled purple cabbage. Seriously.
- Duck & Cherry. I typically hate anything with cherries in it, but this is a classic pairing. And Timna played around with it just enough to make it new again: espresso cherry puree, parsnip vanilla mousse, and roasted cashew nuts. Duck can feel heavy but this one didn’t – I thought it was cooked well and served in just the right portion.
Timna – Website
109 St Marks Place