After nearly a year of limited social interaction, cooking in the kitchen, and dining with Netflix, the EatNom team and myself were relieved when New York dining regulations began to lift. In the midst of COVID-19, I became quite the chef and adapted to eating in a solitary environment. However, I’m too much of a social foodie to implement these eating patterns permanently. And let’s face it, there are too many delicious eateries in New York City to try! The minute New York dining opened up, I instantly gathered a group of friends and booked a reservation! What I’ve missed most about dining out is the shared experience of tasting multiple flavors in a restaurant ambiance, which gives extra meaning to each bite and truly lifts your spirit. Eating is designed to be a social activity, and nothing can ever replace a communal meal experience.
I recently discovered a restaurant that is the epitome of a communal table and will truly bring you and your friends together…Shoo Shoo Nolita. Wander down to the corner of Broome Street and Mott Street, and you’ll find this modern Mediterranean café. The aroma of fresh pita bread and herbed hummus will start to make you hungry and eager to peruse the menu. Then once the sound of playful chatter hits your ears, it’s impossible to walk past this venue. Whether indoors or outdoors, Shoo Shoo offers a casual and spirited ambiance. You can enjoy a socially distanced meal inside the colorful dining room or sit comfortably in one of the many outdoor private rooms bordering the restaurant. My friends and I were happily seated in one of the brightly lit enclosed rooms with heaters. I truly enjoyed our cute wooden room as it made for an intimate affair as well as an excellent opportunity to eat and connect safely.
Before we could even begin chatting, our eyes were already feasting on the delicious menu. Shoo Shoo offers an inviting Mediterranean fare infused with Israeli influences. Yum! Expect to order from a selection of fresh and organic vegetables, whole grains, and grass-fed meats, making this a nutritious option for dining out. Traditionally, the Mediterranean culture values social interaction at meals to benefit a healthy mindset and implement mindful eating.
Shoo Shoo has designed a menu that encourages eating healthily together with friends and family.
So many mouthwatering possibilities – Gluten-Free Falafel Latkes, Lamb Rague, and Octopus Alla Pancha – you will want to try a nibble of everything! This array of appetizers, entrées, and sides is why Shoo Shoo is so appealing for groups. The menu is designed for a communal table or a place where each shared bite influences the conversation making for a timeless meal. From bursts of lemon in the Beets and Avocado Salad, scents of fresh mint in the Labneh Zatar, the smooth texture of the Mashed Potatoes, the crunchy sound of the Cauliflower Crumbs Caesar Salad, and the beautifully garnished Pistachio Mozzarella Kanafeh; everyone’s senses are on a flavorful rollercoaster.
There was no awkward silence or lack of conversation because the food was the highlight of the evening. After mouthfuls of the colorful, fresh, and light Israeli Salad, scoops of Middle Eastern Dall topped with gooey cashew butter, and juicy bites of Alice’s Harissa Burger adorned in Israeli pickles (don’t forget the side of herbed fries), there were only positive reviews and cheers amongst my table. And no dining experience here is complete without one of Shoo Shoo’s divine desserts. The Turkish Real Baklawa will surely give you something sweet to talk about. Or everyone will be too mesmerized by this crispy stack of flaky phyllo dough smothered in honey crunchy nuts to comment between bites.
My friends and I shared the Greek Salad and Shoo Shoo Hummus. I’m a huge hummus fan, and this hummus was exceptional. IThe texture was so creamy and slathered perfectly onto the airy pita. We couldn’t stop the waiter from bringing more of this homemade pocket of heaven! It was the simplicity of passing around the bowl of salad and commenting on the flavorful seasoning that fostered a natural human connection that is absent when dining alone. After devouring our appetizers, we were eager to taste our entrees. Collectively we ordered the Organic Chicken Shwarma, Grilled Branzino, and Shoo Shoo Shnitzel. My favorite was the Grilled Branzino, as it was fresh, infused perfectly with herbs and oil, and paired with a unique celeriac puree (a fancy rendition of celery root). We all wanted to savor every bite that night. At the end of the evening, we left satisfied with laughs, smiles, and tasty food.
I’ve eaten at my fair share of Mediterranean-inspired eateries, and I can honestly say Shoo Shoo Nolita is at the top. My high praise is primarily due to the scenery and food harmonizing together, making for a memorable social gathering. Shoo Shoo develops a true sense of continuing community through a shared meal.
If you’re looking for an interactive meal, dining at Shoo Shoo Nolita will do the trick. Make sure to reserve your table in advance because it’s a local favorite, and you don’t want to wait too long to try the Baba-Ganoo-Shoo with Laffa flatbread! I’ve already booked my brunch reservation! Shook-Shooka anyone?