Basta: A Nur Vet-Chef's Ode to the Meditrranean

Eggplant Carpaccico, Fish-Stuffed Cigar Leaves and Casual Dating in Murray Hill

By Ilana Dadras ·
Photo: Oleg March

Basta is the Hebrew word for "long tables piled high with produce at the Israeli markets that Chef Raz Shabtai used to frequent with his grandmother in Tel Aviv."

It's also how you express the notion, "Enough is enough!" in Italian, which may come in handy one day.

But let's stick with that first meaning and make our way into Basta: a Kosher Mediterranean spot that's open now in Murray Hill.

They're calling it Mediterranean fusion, because you'll note influences from Morocco, North Africa, Turkey, France and Italy—if you're the type to note those kinds of things. It's a bright, narrow space with a promising wood-burning oven, a red leather banquette running down the wall and an open kitchen. One where the vet-chef of the new-ish Israeli winner Nur will be crafting plates of eggplant carpaccio, house-baked bread with dips and mixed vegetables with labanne cheese, fresh herbs and feta. The kinds of things you order for the table and scoop generously onto your plate after passing around. 

Now, we're picturing you here with friends. Or maybe a date of the casual variety. The kind of company that'll happily indulge in a shareable feast involving black mushroom ravioli, cigar leaves stuffed with fish and spices, and maybe some black sea bass with white eggplant cream and raw tahini. Menu's here, if you care to have a look.

And the photos, those are here, and they include many a delicious-looking thing in a newspaper-lined basket. 

Basta, now open, 62 E 34th St (between Park and Madison), 917-261-7352, see the menu and the slideshow

Ilana Dadras passes her days writing about good food, talking about good food and consuming good food. Occasionally doing other things, too.

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