Restaurant of the Month: Bustan

A photo of Buston's bar with modern light fixtures and bar stools.

A culinary journey to the Mediterranean without leaving the comfort of the Upper West Side…sound too good to be true?  It’s not, I promise.  Just head to Amsterdam Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets, where you’ll find Bustan.  Let the Mediterranean journey begin!

There are many ways to enjoy a meal at Bustan—whether you come for weekend brunch, lunch, cocktails and small bites, or dinner, the menu is sure to delight.  With newly appointed Executive Chef/Partner Jose Paulo Cortes leading the way, truly authentic flavors are achieved in the dishes using Bustan’s one-of-a-kind-in-Manhattan wood-fired 360-degree rotating brick taboon—a special Middle-Eastern oven.  Cortes insists on painstaking attention to detail when sourcing his ingredients to further ensure quality and purity of flavor; for example, the chickpeas used in his hummus are exactly 9 mm in diameter—because that is ideal—and the pure roasted sesame paste for his tahini is imported from Nazareth, Israel.  The real deal?  I think yes.

Whole fish garnished with a lemon and tomatoes

There are plenty of dishes to meet the dietary restrictions of all. If you need a little guidance, here are our top five choices:

For your Drink: Fig Lemonade

Cocktails are designed with the same aesthetic as the food, merging the perfect flavor combinations to provide a memorable experience.  The fig lemonade is built from house-infused fig vodka, St. Germain and ginger beer, and is a great way to start your evening, or to sip along with your food.

For your Appetizer: Mazettim

A delicious way to start your meal, the mazettim is a selection of “dips” served with irresistible taboon-baked focaccia: hummus, redolent of that special tahini with a touch of cumin, baba ganoush with the smoky flavor of taboon-roasted eggplant, tzatzkiki, spicy feta, and taramousalata.

For your Greens: Israeli Salad

Salads, all made to order, are all bursting with flavor. The Israeli salad, for instance, is composed of fresh tomatoes at their peak, cucumber, red onion, radish, scallion, parsley, mint, and kalamata olives—with the flavors brought to the fore with the addition of spices such as sumac and lemon-tahini dressing that pops.

Mushroom flat bread dinner at the Buston

For your Main: Mushroom Flatbread (Vegetarian Friendly) or Taboon Roasted Branzino (Meat Choice)

Considering the taboon, it’s easy to understand why the flatbreads are such a hit.  But the toppings take these pizza-like breads to another level: for example, kale and mushroom with ricotta, taleggio and asparagus was one of the combinations we absolutely devoured.  If meat is more your jam, try the whole branzino, which is fully cooked in a 360-degree turn in the oven, emerging moist, infused with fresh herbs on the inside, crisp and smoke-infused on the outside.

The Turkish Sundae

For your Dessert: The Turkish Sundae

The Turkish sundae is a wonderful invention: vanilla gelato topped with crisped rice, caramelized nuts, and shredded halva.  It’s completely different than the more run-of-the-mill cheesecake, tiramisu, or chocolate molten lava cake that we’re so used to finding at NYC restaurants…give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Whether you’re eating at the bar, the back garden (which is winterized for the colder months, and obviously a glorious choice for the warmer ones), or the colorful dining room, the experience of dining at Bustan is one you’ll want to repeat again and again.  And considering it’s much easier on the wallet than a ticket to the Mediterranean, we are quite confident that you’ll become a regular.  Cheers!

Bustan | 487 Amsterdam Avenue New York, New York  10024 | 212-595-5050

Posted in manhattan living, NYC Dining, Upper West Side, Westside |