By Ava Stryker-Robbins
Braised for hours and cooked at 700 degrees, Dagon’s crispy roasted lamb — crispy on the outside, juicy and flavorful within — has been a restaurant favorite since Dagon opened its doors in 2021.
Chef Ari Bokovza drew inspiration for the dish from the lamb shank his grandmother used to make him when he was a child. Bokovza wanted to have lamb on the Dagon menu and “the lamb flavor was so pronounced” in his grandmother’s recipe that he knew he did not want to use lamb chops or loin. He wanted something even more flavorful: lamb neck.
One of Bokovza’s main cooking philosophies is that the best dishes include multiple tastes and textures. This is evident in the roasted lamb, as cucumbers, dates, walnuts, wild rice, and shawarma are included in the recipe.
Bokovza is of Israeli heritage and spends each summer in Israel with his family. He said that as a child, he ate very well as his grandmother was “a fantastic cook.” The culinary inspiration he has drawn from his family shapes many of the dishes he creates. “The flavors have become part of my DNA,” he told West Side Rag in a phone interview.
Bokovza has been a chef since 2007 and has worked throughout New York City. Though he never attended culinary school, he trained in Europe and learned from the cooking styles of many chefs. He enjoys his work because of the recipes he creates and the satisfaction he gets from seeing his sous chefs learn and develop their craft. He finds the cuisine at Dagon to be something that “excites” him.
The Dagon team plans to open another restaurant with a different concept in midtown Manhattan in September.
The Crispy Roasted Lamb costs $41.
The Dish: Crispy Roasted Lamb
The Restaurant: Dagon (2454 Broadway at 91st St)
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