knew I was taking a chance,” chef Elie Kahlon told me after my visits
to his nine-month-old restaurant, Novo Mediterranean in Ridgewood.
“People hear I’m Israeli, they expect falafel and hummus.”
Novo serves no falafel. Hummus, made in house, appears, among
other places, in an appetizer with Greek tzatziki, smoky Moroccan salsa
and house-made pita. The word Mediterranean comes with its own bag-
gage. But as Kahlon told me, “The Mediterranean is more than olive oil,
sun-dried tomatoes and grilled fish.”
To instantly grasp the point, order Kahlon’s duck bisteeya. Its phyllo
surface brushed with clarified butter, it looks like a large, tan hockey puck.
The interior is packed with confited duck meat, caramelized onion, garlic
confit, raisins, pistachios, walnuts and Moroccan spices. Dusted with
confectioner’s sugar, the $33 main course is both sweet and savory, chewy
and crunchy, wonderfully fragrant and deeply satisfying. “It’s traditionally
done with chicken,” Kahlon told me, “but I use duck for a richer taste.” PH
EDITED BY ERIC LEVIN
REVIEWS BY KAREN TINA HARRISON
AND ADAM ERACE
FOOD: Modern Mediterranean
AMBIENCE: Sophisticated, soothing
SERVICE: Knowledgeable and helpful
WINE LIST: BYO
PRICES: Appetizers, $12-$18; entrées,
$28-$38; sides, $7-$9; desserts, $10-$13;
three-course, prix-fixe dinner Mondays and
HOURS: Dinner: Sunday through Thursday,
5 to 9 PM; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 PM.
Lunch: Daily, 11: 30 AM to 3 PM
AX, D, DC, MC, V X
37 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood
An Israeli chef brings a modern sensibility
to the foods and flavors of his homeland,
the Middle East and the Mediterranean.