Bavel—pronounced bah-VELL—is the Hebrew name for Babel, a metaphor for the differences that divide us, one that is particularly apt when it comes to the Middle East. But in this book, and at the Los Angeles restaurant of the same name where Ori Menashe & Genevieve Gergis are chef and pastry chef, connections are also made.
Celebrating the robust, flavorful food of the region with thoughtful, handsomely presented interpretations, Bavel demonstrates a concern for tradition and artisanship, occasionally informed by the restaurant's roots in Southern California. A dish of harissa prawns with zucchini tzatziki uses smoked Fresno chiles; the preserved lemons are Meyer.
But there are many interesting salutes to Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors that don't borrow from elsewhere: confit okra with whipped feta; a salad of tomatoes and plums with sumac vinaigrette; beef cheek tagine; foie gras halvah with dates and toasted sesame seeds.
In a world crowded with Middle Eastern books, this one stands apart.
Hardcover Color photographs throughout