On our way to the beach last weekend, we made a short swing through New Orleans, an annual destination. My older sister and her family live there and we will really use any excuse to drop in on her. My kids L.O.V.E. it and Stephen and I do, too. We love all the fun things to do and the shopping, but, really, we love the food.
I called my sister last week to see about making reservations for Saturday night. (My niece is my children's favorite babysitter of all time).
Me: Where should we go for a grown up dinner?
Her: Have you heard about Shaya? It's the place everyone is buzzing about. Google it. It's really cool.
Me: Sounds great.
Her: It's Isreali and small plates and a lot of Middle Eastern spices and hummus.
Me: (Thinking of the next thing we needed to discuss).
I didn't Google it. I just have learned to trust her recommendations. They are spot on.
The menu looked phenomenal - from the five different types of hummus with different cheeses and fresh vegetables to the slow roasted lamb with whipped feta and walnut and citrus tabouleh, to halloumi with strawberry mint and pistachios, to roasted chicken with Schwarma spices (this is a real thing that everyone is crazy about that completely blindsided me), to the Persian rice with brown butter and cherries. Are you dying? I was. It was soooooooo good!!!!
And, let's just say that we did not leave a bite for Mrs. Manners - and we really ordered a lot of different salatim and small plates and large plates. I just could not get enough! Mrs. Manners would have been horrified!
So, AFTER we ate there, I Googled it and learned that Chef Alon Shaya and Shaya won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2016 and the chef de cuisine, Zachary Engel, won Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 2017. Before all of that, Alon Shaya won the James Beard Best Chef: South Award in 2015 for his other restaurant, Dominica, after having been a nominee for the three years prior to that.
Boy's got some street cred. Wow.
Shaya, 4213 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana
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