Located in a former sushi spot, Shmoné is the newest restaurant created by Chef Shani, who has opened over 40 hot-spots across the globe. Starting with the seafood-focused Oceanus in his hometown of Jerusalem more than 30 years ago, Shani continues to emphasize local ingredients, contemporary Israeli cuisine and a super fun vibe.
Like many of his other restaurants, Shmone’s focuses on seasonal, market-driven, Middle-Eastern favorites that have been modernized and served with quite a few creative twists. Shmoné has the advantage of being a relatively small space, with room for only 50 seats. The signature open kitchen lets guests watch the action and the extremely cheerful cooking staff.
Like every Eyal Shani restaurant, Shmoné takes a highly-seasonal approach to products and ingredients. And Shmone’s small size allows for an extra dose of culinary creativity and surprise in the constantly changing menu. One evening’s menu is likely to include recently harvested spring vegetables and the next night might include the best locally-sourced fish. “We will cook with what we find each morning and let the dishes seduce and delight right in front of your eyes,” Shani explains. Everything on the menu will be determined by the season — with dishes evolving and appearing as the best ingredients come into season. Shmoné works with a select group of regional producers to source the freshest meats, seafood and produce.
The best way to start your meal is to take advantage of the very extensive selection of absinthe cocktails. The Glory Morning features absinthe verde, scotch, fresh lemon juice and egg whites; another favorite is the Death on the Balcony, which mixes up absinthe, fresh lemon and mint and a hit of champagne. A nicely curated selection of international wines and beer is also available. Dinner usually starts with home-made focaccia served with tomatoes and chiles or a bruschetta topped with green peas and ricotta.
You can then choose between “Earth Creatures,” “Ocean Creatures,” or “Animal Creatures.” Vegetable-centric dishes include perfectly prepared plates of asparagus, artichokes and fresh greens. There is also a dreamy lasagna and tomato-topped pasta to choose from. Seafood lovers can indulge in scallops cooked on charcoal, hummus-wrapped prawns or a perfectly cooked piece of halibut. And if you are sharing the table with a meat-lover, you can indulge in the Wagyu steak for two, expertly sliced at your table. A whole, slow-roasted chicken is another option, along with “the best cuts of lamb.”
A great way to end your meal is with one of the “Sweet Creatures.” Now you can shoes between a giant rack of glazed pear, a bowl of Valhona chocolate mousse or a simple treat of seasonal black berries and cream
Shmoné is located at 61 W 8th Street and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm to midnight. www.shmonenyc.com