The recent limelight on Middle Eastern foods in America, which is overdue and still very much emerging, can in part be traced to Michael Solomonov, the chef who owns Zahav (and about a dozen other restaurants) with Steve Cook. Solomonov, born in Israel, brings a respectful and contemporary translation of that nation’s clearinghouse adaptation of its region’s varied cuisines. Dinner should always begin with salatim — warmly spiced vegetable salads that light up the table in their shades of red, green, gold, and purple — and Solomonov’s justly lauded hummus, maybe in a Turkish variation bathed in melted butter. Grilled duck hearts, roasted carrots with labneh, the signature smoked lamb shoulder lacquered with pomegranate molasses, riffs on kanafeh (a shredded phyllo dessert) with seasonal fruits: These communal plates all foster kinship, further cultural understanding, and of course bring immense enjoyment.
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