Stepping into the bright and airy interior of Bavel feels like stumbling on an oasis. This second act for Bestia’s Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis leans into the duo’s diverse heritage (Moroccan, Turkish, Israeli and Egyptian), taking local ingredients into a Middle Eastern realm of flatbreads and slow-cooked meats, with unexpected twists. Plan to order several rounds of the fluffy house-made pita to accompany starters like okra, marinated with cumin, mint and turmeric, nested into whipped feta, or oyster mushroom kebabs with lovage and cardamom puree. In a similar Mediterranean spirit, Ryan Ibsen offers a selection of wines that range from Spain to Corsica, Italy and Lebanon, with diversions to Champagne and California. He presents four to six selections from each region, starting with a block of color-coded Canary Islands treasures that’s hard to pass up. Ricky Yarnall created the cocktail program, combining some unusual ingredients to update tiki drinks with chrysanthemum and shiso. He rethinks the Vesper with celery two ways and riffs on an Old-Fashioned with lamb-fat Bourbon and blue-plum brandy.
photo by Nicole Franzen