Balaboosta opened more than a year ago, but my first visit was only last month. I’ve been meaning to visit ever since they opened, but there’s many delicious distractions in this city, and it wasn’t until I had a mean craving for a lamb burger I found myself there one day with David in tow.
To start, David and I shared a beet salad. If you’ve noticed, wherever we go, if there’s a beet and goat cheese salad on the menu, David will usually order it. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I don’t mind since I like beets and I like cheese, but I hear variety is the spice of life (hint, hint). In any case, the Roasted Red Beet & Arugula Salad ($10), with toasted hazelnuts, orange, and goat cheese, was pretty solid. I liked that there wasn’t too much dressing, and the hazelnuts and orange segments were a welcome, although slight, variation on the ubiquitous NY beet salad.
For his main, David ordered the Shakshouka, Moroccan baked eggs in tomato sauce with spinach and grilled country bread on the side ($12). It wasn’t really spicy as described on the menu, but I liked the warm, earthiness of the sauce which reminded me of chili. David made very good use of his bread towards the end.
As for my Lamburger ($15), an 8 1/2 ounce grass-fed Pat LaFrieda lamb patty stuffed with herbed goat cheese and topped with caramelized onions on an Il Forno brioche bun, it was mighty tasty, and god damn if it wasn’t the juiciest burger I’ve ever eaten. I was planning a second interior shot, but there was so much juiced pooled up after one bite, I was scared of putting it down and losing the precious juice. The burger is definitely a messy affair. After a few bites, the soft brioche bun started to fall apart, and I ended up taking the knife and fork route. It’s not a big deal, but I know some people are bothered by that so I thought I’d put the information out there. For me, the only minor issue were the onions which could have been more caramelized and in turn more sweeter. It’s still a great lamb burger though, and while it doesn’t replace the funkier lamb burger from The Breslin as my favorite in the city, this one runs a close second.
Also worth mentioning are the crunchy patatas bravas coated with za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend containing thyme, hyssop, and sesame seeds) served on the side of the lamb burger with roasted garlc aioli. The za’atar is nice, but creamy aioli can never be denied. Same goes for another lunch at Balaboosta.
Thank god for cravings.