The who: Chefs Sam Gorenstein (MyCeviche) and Danny Ganem (BLT Steak) team up for Zuuk, this homage to Mediterranean pita joints with a focus on quick, soulful food that marries the contemporary love of build-your-own meals.
The space: An airy spot two doors down from MyCeviche on a busy stretch near Mary Brickell Village. Bright yellow chairs, polished wood tables and a mosaic-tile wall give the place a modern-yet-traditional vibe. Food is composed behind the counter where customers can choose a variety of proteins and toppings from steaming cast-iron pots.
The dishes: They’re dubbing it “fast-healthy” Mediterranean food — falafel here is baked, not fried. And there’s kombucha on tap. The menu is brimming with colorful fresh greens, veggies and sauces that employ Middle Eastern flavors. Prices are affordable with bowls going for $8-$12 and sides $4.
Meals start with a base of a bowl, salad, or roll which are then filled with a choice of three dips and spreads, a protein or main veggie, unlimited toppings and a sauce or dressing. Bowls are filled with turmeric basmati rice or bulgur wheat and salads start with arugula, spinach, romaine, or power greens. Six dips include: babaganoush, za’atar-feta, roasted red pepper hummus and mini-tzatziki. From there it’s on to proteins like hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken seasoned with turmeric, oregano, and lemon; falafel; and slow-roasted beef or spiced lamb kefte. Toppings include radishes, pickled red cabbage, and bulgur tabbouleh and sauces including a sumac-citrus dressing and a spicy harissa.
The house tahini is sourced from Philadelphia-based SOOM (recommended by Philly chef Michael Solomonov) and the “amba” sauce — a traditional mango chutney found at falafel stands in Israel — is fermented in-house.
Dessert is via a machine that churns Greek yogurt-tahini soft-serve.
Bottom line: A healthy take on Middle-Eastern street food with high-end chef cred in a modern Brickell location.