Taïm [Tah-EEM] means “delicious” in Hebrew, and it’s a fitting name for this West Village “falafel & smoothie bar.” Israeli chef Einat Admony and husband Stefan Nafziger (previously of Bouley) preside over the tiny establishment, where they make all the food from scratch each day.
Falafel sandwiches are served with green, red and harissa sauces. We ordered the Harissa Falafel ($4.50). I was given the choice of fresh baked white or whole wheat pita. I chose the former. The fluffy pita was cut open and slathered with hummus, Israeli salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and lemon mint dressing), tahini sauce and harissa – “the spicy Tunisian paste made from paprika, garlic and cumin.” Our second sandwich was Sabich ($5): slabs of fried eggplant, layered with hard boiled egg, hummus, Israeli salad and tahini sauce. I’d have to give the edge to the falafel sandwich. The moist garbanzo bean orbs were better than the tender, but standard cuts of eggplant.
Here’s a side of Zahatar pita ($1), brushed with a spice blend that probably included oregano and thyme. The owner was nice enough to serve us a trio of sauces: tahini sauce; Srug – Yemeni hot sauce made from cilantro, garlic and chilies; and Amba – “tangy sauce made from pickled green mangoes, fenugreek and spices.” Srug was spicy, but not overpowering, and Amba held a compelling spicy-tart blend. The tahini sauce was just well-made sesame sauce.
To drink, the smoothie bar offered some intriguing pairings, including tamarind-apple-palm sugar and cantaloupe-ginger.
I ordered the date-lime banana-smoothie ($4.50) made with skim milk instead of the suggested soy milk. I prefer milk to come from cows, not from beans. I also ordered a brown sugar lemonade ($3). Both were refreshing.
For dessert, I ate a soft baklava ($2) rectangle that incorporated crushed pistachios, rose water and orange blossom syrup.
Jars of shrug, amba and harissa are for sale.
Given Taim’s lack of space, more than six counter stools is probably too much to ask for. Still, there are a lot of pluses. The cheap eatery dispensed flavors good enough to make me temporarily forget it was vegetarian. As much as it pains me to admit I enjoyed a vegetarian restaurant, I did.
April 20, 2010 at 7:57 PM
This Restaurant is a MUST VISIT even if you are not remotely Vegan! My friend Allan who is typically always right had to drag me here… Tiny little place. Huge Bold Tastes! You will not be dissapointed by price, atmosphere, or flavors… Trust me like I shoulda trusted Allan! LOL