All afternoon the scent adopted me, smoke rising off roasting meat, and rose water like a balm thumbed behind the ears: the fragrance of Wafa’s Specific in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The menu might belong to any of the town’s frill-free Center Jap eating places. However every part here’s a little bit extra — brighter, earthier, smokier, creamier. The distinction is sort of a washed-out that has been out of the blue restored, gaining colours and textures you didn’t know had been there.
There may be the anticipated rubble of lamb shawarma, primed with purple wine, vinegar and the chef’s secret compound of spices, turned on a spit and sheared off in strips. The meat tugs again underneath the tooth a second earlier than giving in, an indication of character. The juices saturate the rice under, or higher but mujadara, inexperienced lentils and bulgur wheat wedded in a pan with olive oil and onions simply flowering into sweetness. It tastes buttery and creamy with out the presence of both.
I like a dish that permits you to style the way it was made. Baba ghanouj has a historical past written in smoke, eggplants blackened so lengthy over an open flame that smoke and flesh turn out to be indistinguishable.
Extra smoke seeps into moussaka — the Arab model, not the Greek one — as eggplants are roasted after which simmered for hours with chickpeas, tomatoes and mint. It’s only a meze, but it surely’s meaty and hearty, with a sweet-sour streak of pomegranate juice slicing via it, like daylight via smoke.
For makdous, child eggplants are poached, salted and left to sweat out their bitterness, then stuffed to bulging with purple bell pepper, garlic and walnuts, and submerged in olive oil for at the least two weeks. They emerge light and wrinkly however nonetheless…