In what may be her best review of 2014, The Gazette critic Sarah Musgrave swoons over Sumac, the new cafeteria-style Middle Eastern restaurant from chef Raquel Zagury and David Bloom.
Launched at the start of October, it’s already banging; from our counter-height table, we felt the cold emanating off the jackets of the many people in line.
Musgrave writes that the restaurant is a welcome departure from the usual shawarma and hummus hawkers in the city. From pita to salads, dips to drinks, Sumac is all about solid bang-for-your-buck details. And then there is Zagury’s falafel.
The falafel at Sumac does this city proud. So often these browned balls flatline when you bite into them; here they had the right depth of crust to crunch through to get to the relief of the moistness in a soft, herbed chickpea interior, pale green with coriander and parsley. They were sandwiched in a jumble of tahini, hummus, pickled turnip and crunchy chopped salad, with caraway-scented white cabbage and creamy purple cabbage nestled at the bottom. The sandwich presentation is irresistible: they come in a bowl, all chubby and round, busting out of the pita casing like cherubs in waxed paper pants.
The rave ends with this killer endorsement.
There isn’t really a place in town doing Middle Eastern quite this way. I’ll hit up Chez Benny and Panthère Verte for falafel and I’m a fan of Le Petit Alep, Daou and Damas. But Sumac feels fresh and modern, vegetarian egalitarian, and the many mix-and-match options make for a new old way of dining.