Alon Shaya, you had me at hummus. We know people don’t come to New Orleans for Israeli food, but these fresh, modern Mediterranean flavors are unencumbered by concessions to elaboration, and the silken hummus—in versions with ground lamb and pine nuts, or with harissa and a gently cooked egg—reaches mic drop levels. BOOM. And then there are the pretty little bowls of mezze, the signature lutenitsa (oven-fired peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant pureed and seasoned to pure perfection), and tzatziki enhanced by a burst of fresh field peas. At 3 for $15, order as many as your table can fit. That’ll ensure that they keep bringing the mouthgasm-inducing pita bread, steam-puffed to Brady football size. It’s baked in a gorgeous, blue-tiled wood oven in a back corner of the sleek blue and white room; beyond that is the quieter, white-on-white patio. But back to the food. The mains, if you make it that far, should include the slow roast lamb, ours a massive flavorbomb of a shank in a creamy pool of whipped feta, topped with tabbouleh shot with tart pomegranate seeds. The astute wine list is wisely stocked with a contingent of beautifully complementary rosés. Close with the divine labneh cheesecake, grit notwithstanding.
New Orleans› Restaurant
4213 Magazine St
Our Rating Neighborhood Uptown Garden District Hours Sun–Thurs 11am–10pm; Fri–Sat 11am–11pm Phone 504/891-4213 Prices Mezze & small plates $9–$22; main courses $12–$18 lunch, $18–$36 dinner Cuisine Type Israeli/International Web site Shaya