The Seaport is a glittery new world these days; seems like a new skyscraper goes up every week. It once felt like a futuristic netherworld of steely gray; now, there’s lots of street life, shops and even new restaurants.
Miznon, an Israeli fast-casual chain, is one of them. There was tons of advance press about this spot: Chef Eyal Shani was born in Jerusalem in 1959 and made a splash on the culinary scene there in 1989, when he opened his first regional Mediterranean restaurant, Oceanus. Today, he runs restaurants Tel Aviv—Port Said, Romano, Miznon, North Abraxas, HaSalon and Miznon locations around the world. He’s also a regular on Israeli “Master Chef.”
Miznon specializes in hand-held, portable pitas; it’s perfect for the rushed, counter-service lunch crowd. The space is big and bustling—but there’s also plenty of space to sit indoors and al fresco if you’re not rushing back to the office (who works in an office anymore, right?). I ordered ahead and my food was ready in 10 minutes on a shelf toward the front. No need to even talk to humans, if you don’t want to, though the staff is efficient and cheerful.
Miznon’s signature item is a whole roasted cauliflower, still in its skin. It’s easy to share—and to devour, drenched in olive oil, maybe a hint of salt, blackened at the edges. I’m not sure I couldn’t make the same thing at home, but it is tasty. My husband orders the lamb kebab pita, which is oddly unwieldly; the kebab sticks haphazardly out of the fluffy pita, making it easier just to dismember the whole thing and eat its components. The tahini is rich and generously apportioned. Overall, a hit once dissected. The pita is especially perfect: Banish all thoughts of Americanized, cardboard envelopes that look like they were cooked by Fed-Ex. This is light, craggy and soft.
I order the ratatouille pita. It’s messy and savory, exploding with aromatic stewed eggplant (silky and lovely), a spicy tomato sauce and hard-boiled eggs. Warning: this is a yolk-heavy dish. The egg crumbles inside the pita and dribbles out the sides; it’s definitely a bit breakfast-y. Falafel is soft and fresh; I know I probably shouldn’t confess this on JewishBoston, but I tend to hate local falafel: I find it dry and mealy. Not here; it’s pliant, herbaceous and supple. My kids even liked them! The only dud? A bag of cold green beans, which tasted like limp, under-seasoned edamame.
The downside of Miznon? Getting there. There is absolutely nowhere to park; it’s best to approach on foot if you’re in the neighborhood. Overall, though, it’s a high-quality spot for authentic Mediterranean food, served fast.