Eighteen ‘s marketing team has an innate business sense predicated by one important rule of the game; know your customers’ tastes and quickly adapt accordingly. Just open three weeks, 18 is taking off like gang-busters. Inheriting a great restaurant design modified with red accents, its managing team created an upscale, sophisticated 21st century deli, with a few marvelous twists. They’ve hired a terrific sushi chef from Salt Lake City, who creates one mouth-watering roll after another. Chef Haim Dadi, the main chef, flips so many fat burgers-to-go, it’s making Popeye’s Wimpy cry (it’s the quality of the meat, baby! They buy top-of-the-line.). Chef Haim kept the best of the Moroccan-Israeli fare, kept the great fish and salads, and offers a great assortment of grilled steak entrees.
Located where Turquoise used to be, 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400), opened its doors barely three weeks ago. We felt a welcoming warmth as soon as we walked in…
We sat on a corner next to the turquoise wall that once made the late Turquoise so distinctive. SYR and I started the meal with their Salt Lake City Sushi Roll.
It came with tuna, avocado, cucumber, tempura crumbs, soy glaze and a spicy masago. Neither, SYR nor I have been great fans of sushi BUT this roll was amazing!
We both followed with the Yemenite Soup with Meat.
It comes with potatoes, carrots and meat, its aroma and taste linger on for quite a while. This is a new favorite of mine!
Next we shared a large Israeli Combination Platter consisting of hummus, babaganush, Turkish salad and tahini, we dipped our Morrocan Cigars and the baguettes in it for new combinations of rich flavors. Their delectable Israeli Salad with chopped cucumber, tomato w/parsley, lemon and olive oil proved that fancy ingredients are not always necessary to create wholesome, delicious salads but… freshness is!
Next, SYR had the Eighteen’s Beef Burger, 8 ozs topped with mushroom and sitting on a bed of fried onions inside a brioche bun. It came with sides of a sliced sour pickle and French fries. It looked great, and tasted superb. It was obvious why this particular dish is one of their bestsellers.
I followed with Romanian Tenderloin Steak, it came with fresh grilled peppers and superb Yukon gold mashed potatoes.
As I’ve said before, I grew up in Uruguay where steak was an almost daily dinner staple, I know steaks! This one was tender, very juicy and full of flavor. Even my mother couldn’t have made it any better!
Whatever you do, don’t miss their Yemenite meat soup. It’s delicioussssssssss! The portions are generous, the prices more than reasonable. What more can you ask?!?