George R. asks: I recently returned from the Middle East, where I frequently ate shakshuka — the tomato stew with poached eggs — for breakfast. I’d love to find a spot in New York that sells it.
Dear George: I can understand why you fell for the spicy breakfast dish that originated in Morocco and Northern Africa. It’s a delicious way to start the day, and I’ve seen it appear on menus in New York City with more frequency in recent years. Here are my top picks on where to find this savory treat.
I’d definitely suggest that you start your quest at Mimi’s Hummus, where they serve not one shakshuka but three different varieties. The original, cinnamon-spiked stew comes in a scorching-hot cast-iron skillet, served alongside pita bread, plus a cold cucumber and tomato salad, which will help temper the heat. You can also find a “green” shakshuka, which is prepared with Swiss chard and a feta-like cheese, and another version with spicy merguez sausage. Something for everyone, really.
Also in Brooklyn, check out Miriam, which offers a selection of Levantine morning favorites (bourekas, labne and pita, etc.), not to mention a spicy shakshuka. Here, it comes with a side of pita and hummus — a good way to amp up the protein in the morning, no?
In Manhattan, I like Mémé in the West Village for both its food and buzzy ambiance. Their spiced shakshuka is made with onion and pepper and can be eaten plain or topped with merguez. I say go for the merguez because merguez makes everything better.
Or further south, you could compare the offerings at 12 Chairs and at Balaboosta, located on opposite ends of Soho. I’m partial to the Balaboosta rendition, but you can’t really go wrong with eggs, tomato stew, and spices, no matter how you combine them, can you?