Taïm chef Einat Admony wants New Yorkers to forget what they know about couscous with the opening Kish-Kash, her West Village charmer of a space where she makes the semolina grain by hand.
Moroccan-style couscous is clearly the star here, with a small space at 455 Hudson St., between Barrow and Morton streets, and a slim menu supporting the fluffy grain. It takes over two hours for Admony to make a batch in a method rarely seen in New York City — she learned how to make it as a child from her Moroccan neighbor — and she says the final product is no comparison to the grocery version.
“I’m going to show New Yorkers how they eat couscous all wrong. People ask if it’s going to be Israeli couscous, and I get really upset. That’s pasta,” she says. “Couscous is a fine semolina. You need to steam it twice, pass it through the sieve twice. You have this horrible aftertaste in instant stuff. There is no comparison; I can’t eat that.”
Her version is as fine as sand and served with mains like lemon chicken tagine, slow-cooked lamb, fish in spicy tomato sauce, and spicy stewed vegetables. There are a few sides, such as hummus and pickled vegetables, as well as an orange blossom-scented cookie for dessert — the full menu, where everything costs less than $21, is here. Drinks include rose peach sangria, strawberry rose lemonade, beers, and wine from Morocco, Israel, and Long Island.
The room is bright and peaceful, with exposed brick, Moroccan tiles, pillows for lounging, and greenery on the tables and hanging from the ceiling. At lunch, orders are taken at the counter, while dinner is full service.
This is Admony’s second counter-service venture — she made her name in NYC with Taïm, the hit falafel shop that’s set to expand across the city. She also has Bar Bolonat in the West Village, and is looking for a new home for her recently shuttered Balaboosta.
Kish-Kash is now open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.