Gadi Peleg is spreading the delicious gospel of Middle Eastern food all over New York City, and I am not complaining. Peleg, who is also owner of Breads Bakery and Nur, has just launched Lamalo, a Middle Eastern-inspired concept restaurant centered around freshly baked laffa bread and a slew of mezze, or small dishes, vegetables, and dips ideal for an evening of drinking, noshing, and catching up with friends. The restaurant’s focus is very much inspired by Peleg’s childhood in Israel and has been an idea he has been thinking about “forever.”
Lamalo (translation: why not?) asks its customers to put their trust in the hands of the restaurant and the chefs. While you can order specific dishes, the center of the meal is the freshly baked laffa bread (a flatbread that is made fresh to order) and all the dips that automatically arrive at your table, a concept that Peleg points out isn’t new, but is a manner of eating that my be unfamiliar to many Americans, at least at first. But those familiar with this Middle Eastern, more communal style of eating will feel right at home. Sitting in the modern space of Lamalo, located on the first floor of the trendy Arlo NoMad, truly feels like a night out in Israel. Even the cocktails, served in carafes, are Middle Eastern-inspired and meant for sharing.
The “Daily Spread” includes dishes like labne with black Persian powder, an incredibly light whipped tahini, Bulgarian feta with mint, eggplant dip, tangy cabbage salad, and an American-inspired spinach artichoke dip.
But you can also order one of their larger dishes, like the Shabtai-style fish, whole braised cabbage, or slow roasted short rib. Lamalo will also begin serving an Israeli-style breakfast spread as well as lunch, offering pastries, coffee, salads, and shakshuka among other dishes.
We are forced to make so many decisions daily, there’s something freeing about Lamalo’s concept of sitting down and just being served. Give it a try! I mean, why not?