Looking for cheap Middle Eastern eats but don’t necessarily want to risk it with the street cart food? Then you have to check out Taboonette.
Taboonette is brought to you by the people of Taboon Restaurant. It’s the same type of cuisine, a combination of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean, but in “quick service sandwich shop” form. Their tagline is “Middleterranean pocket food,” but you can also get your meal as a wrap or a plate if you don’t want it in a pita.
There are both breakfast and lunch/dinner options on the menu, but you can order off the breakfast menu all day. The breakfast choices range from the American, which has scrambled egg, bacon, haloumi cheese, arugula, and tomato, to the Brisket and Egg, which has braised beef brisket, Morrocan tomato jam, fried egg, cilantro, arugula, pickled onion, preserved lemon, and tahini. The lunch and dinner menu also has a mix of options with more traditional flavors, like the Kebab which has ground lamb, tomato, onion, mint, cilantro, eggplant, and tahini, and more Americanized ones, like the Pulled Pork, which has slow roasted pork shoulder with barbecue sauce, cilantro, apple-jicama slaw, and spicy mayo.
I took the more traditional route and got the Chicken Shawarma pita which comes with hummus, chopped salad, tomato puree, pickles, and tahini. I was delighted to see that my order also came with potato chips (homemade I believe) and a yummy green sauce. All the ingredients tasted fresh, and the pita was so fluffy and yummy. They used dark meat for the chicken which added even more flavor and a great juiciness to the meat.
Taboonette definitely manages to keep the beloved flavors of the cuisine and the speedy, casual convenience of street food, while adding higher-quality ingredients in a classier (doesn’t take much compared to a cart on the sidewalk!), clean, and comfortable setting. I’m very interested to try the Zucchini Cakes pita, which comes with feta, dill, parsley, scallion, arugula, red onion, and sour cream, next time. Surprised that’s the one I want to try next? I used to make zucchini cakes all the time in college, and Taboonette is the first place I’ve been to that has them on the menu so maybe I’m being a little nostalgic. Nah. They just sound awesome.
Chicken shawarma pita
30 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003