Tag Archives: balkan


My friend Matt and his Eaters Drinkers crew invited me and a bunch of other food bloggers to Gotan to sample some shakshuka, along with some other tasty egg dishes and health-conscious bowls.

I’ll start with the healthy bowls. There were two: acai and chia. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try the chia, but the acai was very fulfilling and tasty.


With this kind of flavor depth and satisfaction after eating, I can totally see how it can be quite easy to eat more healthy. Here’s the chia bowl:



Some smaller cups of the two, by the window.


Shakshuka, if you’re wondering, is a poor mans salad-like dish that hails from both Northern Africa and the Balkans and means “mixture” in Berber. Typically it is made with tomatoes (usually slow-cooked), herbs, spices and egg as the basis of the dish. The Balkan versions often have cheese (feta).


Avi did a great job explaining this to all of us, as I had never tasted the dish before. Here he is, with co-owner Melissa.


They also have a Gotan location in Tribeca, but this place on 46th is the newer addition. When renovating, they preserved some beautiful original details when chipping away to reach the original brick walls.


So we tried two shakshukas. Red and green. The red is the North African version, and the green is the Balkan style with feta cheese and tomatillo instead of tomato. My favorite was the green, as it had a bit more zip and zing to it in terms of flavor.





These dishes were all beautifully executed and plated by Chef Vicki:




The gang also sampled a bunch of other egg dishes as well:


This was a mushroom toast with root veggies and egg:


This one had chorizo, kale, butternut squash and cauliflower mascarpone:


Unfortunately I didn’t get to taste any of the egg dishes, but I did sample a ton of really unique drinks from the coffee bar (non-alcoholic): espresso spritzer with tonic water and orange zest; watermelon juice with mint; lavender water; blueberry hibiscus tea; and shakerato with candied ginger – another espresso drink.

This joint also slings a bunch of salads and sandwiches as well.



I will definitely be back here, and it’s close to my office, so may be grabbing lunch here pretty often.

20 W. 46th Street
New York, NY 10036


I nabbed a Groupon deal for a seven course tasting for two at this joint, with wine pairings. At $75, it was a steal.



The meal opened with a lightly sweet Macedonian Muscat and a delicious tomato soup. The soup was smooth and velvety, and reminded me almost of a vodka sauce.


Next was the Balkanika salad, which was mixed greens, beets, pine nuts and prosciutto, and served with a light red Macedonian wine. This was a hearty salad. The addition of the beets and prosciutto means that you could easily eat this dish as a main course in a larger portion.


Next was a yogurt, feta, mint, garlic and dill dip/spread served with toasted whole wheat pita bread. This shit would be amazing on an everything bagel instead of cream cheese. It came with a shot of this absinthe/sambuca type of liquor, on the rocks.


Next up was an eggplant and zucchini tapenade with pine nuts, onions, garlic and red peppers. I wasn’t too thrilled about this dish, but then again my wife and I are not bigs fans of eggplant to begin with. This course did not come with a wine pairing.


My favorite course of the night was this spiced beef wrapped in grape leaf and cabbage. Each had its own flavor. In one, the meat was perfumed and spicy. In the other, it was mild and comforting. Both very good in their own way. This dish came with a red; Shiraz.



The last savory course was chicken kebab with yogurt sauce and potatoes. The chicken was nice and tender on these, and the yogurt sauce was thicker than the typical runny white bullshit you get with a kebab. The potatoes were delicious as well. Soft, yet still firm enough to pick up with your form, and deeply flavorful. This came with a white Gavi wine from Italy.


The dessert course was, of course, baklava. It was a little tough to break through with the tiny dessert forks, but the nutty flavor was excellent. It was a bit too sweet, however. Perhaps too much honey. It was served with a flute of Prosecco.


The place even serves their mezes and sides by the pound in what looks like a deli counter. Nice!


691 9th Ave.
New York, NY 10036