Hospitality group Esquared’s fast casual empire expands today with the addition of Middle Eastern spot Dez. Located at 227 Mulberry St., between Prince and Spring streets, it comes from By Chloe co-founder Samantha Wasser and Canadian-Israeli TV chef Eden Grinshpan.
Wasser also co-founded the stylish pasta fast-casual spot The Sosta, and as with her other projects, Dez is as much about the aesthetics as it is about the food. Its Instagram, in fact, doesn’t really highlight the food: Only one post so far shows what’s edible. The rest of the posts are dedicated to desert imagery overlayed with cutesy images of palm trees, cactuses, geckos, and scorpions — Dez is clearly going hard on the desert imagery.
For its opening day, a floral camel decorated the space, which has tables and booths with a black-and-white geometrical print, as well as banquettes with a colorful Southwestern-esque woven pattern. There’s a retail component, too. Dez sells its harissa in the bear-shaped bottles that are typically filled with honey. It also sells kitschy water bottles and bucket hats flecked with the brand’s desert-themed iconography.
Though the aesthetic is California desert,the food looks to the Mediterranean and Middle East. The menu is small, featuring salads, pitas, bowls, flatbreads, and mezes (small plates). And like By Chloe, these colorful bowls of food are as Instagram-ready as the space itself. Millennial pink beet hummus comes topped with roasted cardamom beets, pine nuts, mint, and jalapeño. A tomato, cucumber, onion, and feta salad is flecked with black and white toasted sesame seeds. See the full menu here.
Dez joins a very crowded Mediterranean/Middle Eastern fast-casual scene in NYC that includes expanding chains like Hummus & Pita Co, Taïm, Cava, and Mamoun’s, though none are quite as branded as this one.
The restaurant is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.