Australians and lamb are like Americans and apple pie — the stereotype of “shrimp on the barbie” is far less common than baby sheep (and for the record: they’re actually prawns). Modern Australian eatery Flinders Lane (162 Avenue A; 212-228-6900) serves a lamb dish that could convince even the pickiest eater to love the other red meat.
The globally inspired dish nods to the diverse ethnic groups that make up modern-day Oz, starting with its seasoning: The lamb rump is crusted in wattleseed, a native spice that’s been used by the Aborigines for centuries. The cut is sliced then placed atop a Middle Eastern garlic harissa sauce and a cucumber-and-red-onion salad. The whole thing is dressed with a minted yogurt sauce. Tunisian harissa comes from the Arabic population, its heat balanced by the creaminess of the yogurt and the bold coffee-like flavors of the indigenous seed. The result is out of this world.
It’s a high-end riff of an Australian late-night classic, the souvlaki. The combination of Mediterranean flavors and ingredients is intended to mimic the popular pita filled with meat, tzatziki, tomato, chips, and onions. With the largest Greek population outside of Greece, Melbourne has adopted the Hellenic street-food snack as one of its own. Many Aussies host souvlaki nights, as Americans do Taco Tuesdays. While pork is the most commonly used meat in the dish’s homeland (chicken and lamb are used less frequently), the abundance of sheep led to a new Down Under twist on the age-old snack.
The Village Voice is counting down to our Best of New York City issue in October. We’re combing the city every day, one dish at a time, to guide you to the most delicious food in NYC. These are our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2015, in no particular order, save for the top 10. To read about previous dishes, browse the 100 Favorite Dishes page.