During the Passover seder we talk about four children who each ask a question of the adults at the table. The wise child, the only one we really celebrate, says to the family, "What are these laws and traditions you carry out?" In other words, "what does all this mean to you and me?" So the allegory goes, this is the child we entrust our traditions to. We trust him to keep them safe and practice them well.
Zizi Limona is what happens when the wise child opens a restaurant—or when three of them do. And though chef Nir Mesika and Hummus Place vets Yigal Ashkenazi and Sharon Hoota have succeeded in creating a neighborhood spot that's casual and affordable enough for weekly meals, they've also made something greater. Call it pan-Middle Eastern or the New Israeli Cuisine or whatever else you like, but heed this: if the deceptively simple stuff at Balaboosta gets you hungry, it's time to head over to Williamsburg for a taste of smart Middle Eastern cuisine like nothing else in New York.