On the corner of Graham and McKibbin is Eastwick, a fusion restaurant, that combines Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes with New American cuisine. At first glance, Eastwick reminded me of lots of other restaurants that I’ve seen pop up since I moved to Brooklyn from Washington Heights five years ago. The large windows, distressed wooden accents, and minimalistic signage, while beautiful, had me ready for some gentrified, hipster bullshit. Where cultural authenticity is presented as a selling point, rather than the bottom line. But after walking in and meeting Eastwick owners, David and Reut Sadi, I knew this was something different.
Because I’m indecisive, and a little greedy, ordering was difficult for me. And instead of beating me over the head with suggestions Reut brought over a cappuccino and told me to take my time. David then suggested that Head Chef, Onofre Olmos, hook up a trio of the burrata, beet, and arugula salad, Mediterranean Hummus, and Eastwick Mac & Cheese. I was feeling the VIP treatment—mostly because it reminded me of visiting home.
The Eastwick Mac & Cheese was my first stop. Each gooey bite was a combo of Mediterranean herbs and spices mixed with flavors outside of the sharp cheddar that I’m used to, but with the same taste and texture of crunchy toasted breadcrumbs that I love. My abuelita taught me a long time ago not to go into someone’s kitchen and look in the pots, but that didn’t stop me from trying to ask David to come off exactly what those cheeses, herbs, and spices in the delicious Eastwick mac & cheese were. That information is a secret; but the shot was worth shooting.
The next dish was the ridiculously silky Mediterranean Hummus served with chickpeas, tahini, and a spicy Israeli paste, named Schug. It came served with two pieces of hot and fluffy pita bread, which was about six pieces less than I wish I had. The truth is that many New Yorkers, myself included, are more used to the prepackaged plastic cup variety of hummus than the homemade kind which tastes nothing like it. The same goes for the pita. David and Reut explained to me that hummus is almost like what ketchup is to us here.
Lastly, I dug into the burrata and beet salad which was absolutely amazing and possibly my favorite beet salad ever. In my opinion, out of the trio of dishes this burrata salad was without a doubt the Beyoncé of the group. The burrata, a creamier softer version of mozzarella cheese, was studded with golden toasted almonds and little flecks of lemon zest, and sat on top of lightly seasoned beets and greens. The richness of the burrata, toasted nuttiness of the almonds, and bright flavors of the lemon zest harmonized perfectly. The diced beets and arugula underneath, even dressed simply with what I think was just salt and tossed in olive oil, and maybe some lemon juice, added a beautiful balance of sweetness, earthiness, and peppery spice. Together it hit every note.
After trying not to bust down every bite of food from round one, I put in my order for my second course: Shaksuka, eggs poached in a tomato and bell pepper sauce, Veggie Medley Burger, and the Moroccan Lamb Soup. The main dishes of the second course arrived beautifully plated, a testament to the thirteen-plus years Chef Olmos has spent honing his craft. In retrospect I may have spent a little too much time doing it for the Gram, and the Shakshuka was an unintended casualty. If you like your egg yolks soft, I would definitely recommend being quick with the pictures, or just eating your food when it gets to the table. If you don’t, I would still recommend this, especially for breakfast or brunch. Just ask for the eggs your way.
Next up was the Veggie Medley Burger; served with perfectly golden shoestring French fries and smoked BBQ mayo. Since Thanksgiving I’ve been eating very little meat which has put me on to a truth that vegetarians and vegans have known for a long time: a lot of veggie burgers suck. I chose the veggie burger for this very reason. When I mentioned this to David, he was honest with me: “Everyone either loves or hates the veggie burger,” he said. I appreciated his honesty, and was even more appreciative that I found the burger yummy. The veggie patty was substantial enough that I had to cut it in half, and juicy enough that it held together when I did.
Last, but not least, was my favorite dish: the Moroccan Lamb Soup. It’s funny how no matter how different or distant, countries and cultures all over the world have dishes that can impart the same kind of feelings even when the ingredients change. This Moroccan Lamb Soup is one of those dishes. It reminds me of Sancocho, a Latin American stew and one of my all-time favorite cold weather meals, but with Mediterranean flavors. It was warm and comforting with flavors I’m still trying to figure out.
“Every dish at Eastwick is made per order, daily with fresh ingredients,” Reut said to me proudly. And just like anyone who’s ever enjoyed a home cooked meal knows, making food with love takes time. While orders at Eastwick don’t fly out the kitchen, Eastwick is a labor of love. I left feeling that love with two bags full of leftovers and warm wishes to visit again.