By Ava Stryker-Robbins
The concept of Shawarma originated in the Ottoman Empire in the 18th or 19th century, according to Neomonde Mediterranean. It can be defined as a meat preparation where thin slices of meat are stacked around a rotisserie and grilled.
In North Miznon’s Lamb Shawarma, grilled lamb is cooked on a skewer to medium rare and placed with herbs, tomato foam, and sheep yogurt, and served over focaccia. The flavors of this dish are incredible. The slices of lamb are extremely juicy, and the flavors blend perfectly with the soft, fluffy focaccia bread, making it all the better. The herb salad was also a treat—it made the dish very refreshing, something that is especially rewarding in the summer heat.
Jess Masanotti, head chef at North Miznon who has been working at North Miznon since 2020 shared that it is one of North Miznon’s best-selling dishes. She says that there is a couple who comes every week just to sit by the bar and eat Lamb Shawarma because they love it so much.
North Miznon was opened in 2019 by Chef Eyal Shani, a leading figure in the Israeli food scene, who has served as a judge during the past six seasons of the Israeli TV show “Master Chef,” according to North Miznon’s website.
Born in Jerusalem, Shani developed a love for the culinary arts as he spent his childhood days accompanying his grandfather to local fields, markets, and vineyards. He opened his first restaurant “Oceanus” in Jerusalem when he was 30 years old, where he developed his philosophy of using seasonal Mediterranean products in their simplest form. Now, he is the leading chef of 23 restaurants across the globe. North Miznon was the first full-service restaurant he opened in New York City.
The Lamb Shawarma was created when Jess Masanotti and former chef Victor experimented by using Shani’s existing dish that was an entire lamb leg filet and an herb salad, with the idea of creating a dish involving Lamb Shawarma. After a few attempted versions, they created a new dish with which they were happy.
Part of North Miznon’s philosophy is working to ensure that every dish is made only with the freshest of ingredients. North Miznon has farm-to-table dining where they allow ingredients to speak for themselves. According to head chef Jess Masanotti, the menu changes daily and the composition of the menu is 60%-70% different depending on the season.
Shani opened North Miznon as a full-service restaurant on the Upper West Side, as he saw it as a neighborhood where people should be able to be regulars and be recognized when they come in. Masanotti told the West Side Rag that she is now incredibly proud of the community North Miznon has created, both within their staff and the Upper West Side as a whole. “I love that people come back week after week because they feel like it’s an extension of home,” she says.
The Lamb Shawarma costs $45.
The Dish: Lamb Shawarma
The Restaurant: North Miznon (161 West 72nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus)
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