Oh Nanoosh, you're such a tease.
When the first invitingly-designed space of what has become a humus-centric chainlet opened on the Upper West Side, we were more than a little excited. At the time, eating on Broadway in the 60s, 70s and 80s was pretty much like this: bad diner, boring salad/sandwich chain, bad pizza, repeat. Finally!, we thought when we first saw the Nanoosh restaurant "coming-soon" signage, finally some interesting cheap food, prepared with care, in an un-drab setting! Sadly, our initial visits to that first Nanoosh NYC, on Broadway between 68th and 69th Streets, were so disappointing–the blah Hummus Nanoosh, for example, topped with "natural" ground beef and some unfortunately under-roasted pine nuts, had even less flavor than the accompanying pita triangles–that not even the delightful interiors of new outposts on similarly barren stretches of the Upper East Side (on First Avenue between 68th and 69th) and Midtown (on Madison between 33rd and 34th) could lure us back.
But then came Nanoosh NYC number four, on University Place between 12th and 13 Streets, and it's right near several of our most-frequented movie theaters, and it's as welcoming and nicely-designed as all the others, and so we thought, what the heck, let's give this place another try. Again, and again sadly, Nanoosh restaurant came up way short in the flavor department. Take the Hummus Chicken Wrap, a couldn't-be-more-dry sandwich of all-natural chicken breast, hummus, tahini, and organic greens, all of which tasted mostly like nothing at all. Or the accompanying Quinoa Salad (also available as an "entree"), which tasted only of the cranberries hidden within. The savior here was the small crock of pickles and olives (available for free upon request) that provided some desperately needed bite and moisture to our meal.
Fearing dryness and blandness, we also ordered a side of Lebane, which is described as a "soft cheese from strained yogurt with extra virgin olive oil and zaatar [a Middle Eastern herb]" because, you know… who doesn't like a bowl of cheese? Well, turns out WE don't, when said cheese actually tastes like a bowl of plain, low-fat yogurt. So once again we're reluctantly crossing Nanoosh NYC off our go-to, cheap-eats, quick-bites list. Until, perhaps, that excellent signage, that clean, wooden-table/tiled-wall interior, that delightful chick-pea-filled lighting fixture, fools us once again.
Nanoosh NYC Details
Nanoosh restaurant has four casual eateries, on the Upper West Side, on the Upper East Side, in Midtown near the Empire State Building, and on University Place near Union Square. For directions, hours, menus, philosophy, and delivery options of all four, please see the Nanoosh NYC website.