Taboonette is the little sibling of Taboon Restaurant up in Hell’s Kitchen, but it’s definitely gaining a large following of its own. Similar to Taboon, Taboonette focuses on what the owners call Middleterranean food – a fusion of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. When you think of shawarma or falafel in New York, you might first think of the low-cost street, smoking carts on nearly every major corner in the city. So I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Taboonette and found a very modern, spacious restaurant with an interesting contrast of dark wood and white tile.
Taboon is a type of Middle Eastern flatbread that is typically used as the wrap for common street foods such as falafel and shawarma. The bread gets its name from the oven in which it was baked: the taboon. Traditionally, the taboon is located outdoors and made of mud and clay bricks. Nowadays, they’re also metal. To cook taboon bread, dough is smeared on metal plates or flat stones inside the oven. There are a few variations on taboon bread, the most well-known possibly being laffa.
I ordered a chicken shawarma in a wrap (10.95) which is filled with hummus, tahini, a chopped salad, tomato puree, and pickles. It also comes with a side of house-made chips. My shawarma was packed full of chicken and had just the right amount of char for flavor. The flatbread was soft yet thick enough to hold up to the also generous amount of sauce. I didn’t really see or taste any pickles, though. The sour pickles might have been nice to cut through all that creamy sauce.
The chips were overly salty and unevenly cooked. Some just were on the verge of being burnt. A shame since the wrap was good.
Overall, Taboonette is a great satisfying lunch option, and you won’t have to wait long for your food. My friend and I went on a Wednesday during prime lunch time, and we didn’t have any problems getting a seat by the window. The only small qualm that I have is the price; it’s just a tad more expensive than I would like – only a tad. But the shawarma was solidly delicious, and I would certainly go back to Taboonette and try other traditional fares such as the shakshuka or their breakfast menu.
30 East 13th street
New York, New York, 10003
Monday 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Tuesday 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Wednesday 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm