Kalustyan’s is a great market that has all types of spices, ingredients, dried fruits and pastries mainly from Middle Eastern countries or India. However, this review is for the small café that they have on the second floor.
I believe the guy running the cafe is the owner of Kalustyan’s and I think he is Armenian. I’m not quite sure exactly how to classify the food because I believe it’s indigenous to several Middle Eastern countries as well as Armenia. It’s a tiny place with some steam tables and refrigerators with various foods, olives and cheeses. They’ve got various combination plates as well as sandwiches. There’s not much more to it than that.
On to the food:
Basterma is seasoned air-dried cured beef. The version here is nice, it’s salty like most cured meats are and it’s got a strong beef flavor where it’s almost gamey, but not in a bad way. It tasted quite good with some pita bread and labneh. Overall, I thought it was pretty good. 7.5/10
Hummus is mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Their version is good although not amazing, but tasted good with the pita so it was a nice addition to the meal. 7/10
Labney is greek yogurt, it is white yogurt cheese made from cow milk, it’s very thick and has the consistency somewhere between yogurt and cheese. The version here is nice and goes really well with the basterma. 8/10 (see above pics)
Mujadarrah is cooked lentils garnished with golden fried onions. This is awesome, it sounds plain, but it’s actually really flavorful and I thought it was great. The guy also poured some tahini sauce on it, which went great with it, so I’d definitely recommend getting it that way. 8.5/10
Overall, it’s a great spot and you should definitely stop by if you’re in the neighborhood and in the mood for a quick lunch or dinner.
123 Lexington Ave (between 28th St & 29th St)
New York, NY 10016