Hospitality group Esquared is swinging open its third fast-casual restaurant Dez, an entry into NYC’s competitive casual Middle Eastern restaurant scene.
The restaurant is a collaboration between the group’s creative director Samantha Wasser, who was a co-founder of vegan hit By Chloe and pasta fast-casual spot The Sosta, and Canadian-Israeli TV chef Eden Grinshpan. It will open in Nolita at 227 Mulberry St., between Prince and Spring streets, on Thursday.
Dez has a small, straightforward menu of salads, pitas, bowls, flatbreads, and mezes (small plates) to accompany the flatbreads. Think jeweled rice bowl with saffron, chicken, pistachios, and mint lemon yogurt or a falafel cauliflower pita. Weekends will also feature brunch until 4 p.m., with items like a honey rose pancake and a hummus bowl with veggies. Dez will also serve beer, wine, coffee, and tea.
Though Grinshpan hosted Eden Eats on the Cooking Channel and Top Chef Canada, this is her first restaurant. While the menu may not be particularly groundbreaking, Dez delivers the Instagram-ready designs that Wasser’s been implementing at ESquared. Styled after a “desert oasis,” the restaurant features muted reds, golds, greens, and neutral colors accented by hanging plants.
ESquared’s first venture with a partner chef did not have smooth sailing. By Chloe co-founder chef Chloe Coscarelli was ousted from her namesake restaurant, then sued the hospitality group alleging that CEO Jimmy Haber (Wasser’s father) pushed her out after she rejected his advances. The second fast-casual restaurant The Sosta, which is just down the street from Dez), has been drama-free thus far.
But Dez enters a particularly crowded market — tons of popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants have been opening in New York lately with plans for massive expansion, and that’s not counting the slew of carts around the city. Taïm, Mamoun’s, and Cava Grill have all been eyeing ambitious growth plans.
Dez will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting on Thursday, May 31.
- All coverage of Dez [ENY]