When Israeli star chef Eyal Shani, a judge on Israel’s ‘Master Chef’ and the man behind some 40 restaurants across the globe (HaSalon, North Miznon) opened his new New York City restaurant, Shmoné (Hebrew for eight, a nod to its locale on West Eighth Street), he kept it small by design, with an open kitchen and an emphasis on the freshest possible ingredients. As Nadav Greenberg, the restaurant’s Executive Chef under Shani, puts it: “My style of cuisine will be the Israeli one—fresh ingredients; using everything. It’s comfort food, but a little more elevated.”
Unlike many Manhattan kitchens, “We do everything on the spot,” says Greenberg, who is a Jerusalem transplant. “We don’t prep almost anything before, which is what makes us so special.” Many of the dishes—which change daily, depending on what’s just been plucked in regional gardens—were inspired by his grandma.
“She was cooking a lot, as a typical Moroccan grandmother. I was watching her; it definitely influenced the menu we have here. If you have a dish that has a story behind it, it’s a dish that you’re going to sell.” One of his go-to’s, the 76 layers of Flatiron, takes its cues from succulent Levantine shawarma. “You can close your eyes and feel at home,” Greenberg says. But the restaurant’s vibe—which starts each evening with low jazz and builds to a crescendo of “funky disco fun,” is everything but your typical grandmother’s domicile.
In the latest installment of Designing Delicious, we visit Shmoné.