BWW Review: BUSTAN on the UWS for an Exquisite Dining Experience

Bustan is a food and drink lover's paradise. This modern Israeli restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan offers dining options that suit many different tastes. Sit back, relax and enjoy a wonderful experience in their stylish, contemporary atmosphere.

Recently appointed Executive Chef and Partner, Rafael Hasid has created some exciting new menu items. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, Hasid has achieved the perfect blend of the fine, fresh ingredients with a creative Mediterranean flair. A majority of the cookingst is done in their unique, custom made wood-fired brick taboon oven. And it is this oven that enhances the cooking methods at Bustan.

We stopped by for an early dinner on a Saturday evening and started with "Mezzatim" or small plates that are ideal for table sharing. If you love hummus, you'll find that Bustan's is incomparable. Served with fluffy pita bread, it is made with pure roasted sesame and tahini imported from Nazareth. The Moroccan Cigars are a house favorite with crispy feuille de brick stuffed with braised short ribs, mushrooms and onions served with tahini and harissa tomato salsa. Other tempting small plates include Taboon Charred Octopus, Sizzling Shrimp, Falafel Basket, Heirloom Cauliflower, and Spicy Feta.

Bustan's distinctive salads are a must like their Caramelized Fresh Figs with baby arugula, oranges, feta cheese and Pernod vinaigrette or the Burrata with baby heirloom tomato, watermelon radish, basil pesto and balsamic glaze. Their Israeli salad is an irresistible mix of tomato, cucumber, red onion radish, scallion, parsley, mint, kalmata olives, tahini, sumac and lemon dressing.

For an entrée, we selected one that is ideal for vegetarians. The savory Vegetable Terracotta has braised fennel, charred onion, roasted tomato, braised carrots and potatoes, sautéed spinach, tarragon and shaved almonds, all baked in a flaky bread dome. The delicious bread is light and perfect to enjoy with the vegetable dish. Other tempting selections include the Lamb Terracotta, Free Range Chicken, Crusted Dorado and Taboon Baked Whole Branzino. Portions are generous and the presentation of menu items is picture perfect.

Don't miss dessert. We recommend a treat you won't find anywhere else, the Turkish Sundae. It has vanilla gelato topped with crisped rice, caramelized nuts, and shredded halva. Other scrumptious treats to finish your meal include Moroccan Doughnuts with a trio of dipping sauces, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Gelato and Sorbetto.

When dining at Bustan, indulge in the fine selections from their beverage program. Artisanal cocktails like the "Why So Serious" is made with traditional Israeli anis spriti, Arak, Jamaican rum, loganberry liqueur, and grapefruit. The popular "Fig Lemonade" has house-infused fig vodka, St. Germain and ginger beer. The beverage program also includes 6 beers on tap, 6 bottled beers along with seasonal selections. Bustan features an impressive wine list with selections by the glass, half bottle and full bottle. Pairing your drinks with menu items is part of the pleasure of eating at Bustan. And the bar area is a welcoming spot for drinks, small plates or casual dining.

Bustan is local to the Beacon Theatre, The Museum of Natural History and only a short distance from Lincoln Center. It is restaurant that will likely become one of your favorite dining destinations.

Bustan serves their special brunch/lunch menu seven days a week and also dinner seven days a week. In addition to the bar and restaurant areas, there is seating in their garden that is comfortably enclosed for the winter months. Bustan is located at 487 Amsterdam Avenue, near West 84th Streets. Call 212-595-5050 or visit

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bustan

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