The opening-day menu at Eat Offbeat — a model new restaurant commanding a major spot close to the western entrance of Chelsea Market — included Jollof Rice and Hen Yassa ready by Chef Mariama of Senegal, Katarica Curry and Dhal made by Chef Shanthini of Sri Lanka and Tahini Roasted Greens courtesy of Chef Diaa, a refugee from Syria.
It is a feast you in all probability would not have the opportunity to assemble beneath one roof anyplace else on the town — and that is not even mentioning Chef Lebjulet’s Venezuelan dishes, nor Chef Bashir’s Afghani treats — however Eat Offbeat isn’t your customary operation.
“We are a team of refugees and immigrants from around the world with a passion for cooking,” Eat Offbeat’s co-founder and CEO Manal Kahi advised Gothamist. “We love food, and we love sharing food, and we love sharing our culture through food.”
Whereas operating a bodily storefront could also be new for Eat Offbeat, the crew has been feeding New York Metropolis since 2015: first as a profitable catering enterprise, then including meal kits, packaged provisions and supply when the pandemic hit. Nonetheless, Kahi admitted that being in Chelsea Market, a landmark vacation spot for vacationers, felt particular.
“For the past seven years we’ve had an incredible level of support from our NYC customers, and we knew we were welcome,” she mentioned. “But now with this restaurant we feel like not only are we welcome, but now we’re also a part of the basic fabric of the city” — and one absolutely on show for guests from all around the world to see.
Eat Offbeat is a counter-service restaurant, and the menu is about up build-a-bowl type. You select a well-seasoned base like Senegalese couscous or Afghani dill rice, a stew-like most important dish that will get ladled on high, and, if you need even more pleasure in your life, a aspect or two. The place remains to be very a lot in soft-opening mode — they underestimated demand and offered out of about half their gadgets early on their first day — however the plan is to add more choices in addition to grab-and-go gadgets within the coming weeks.
The crew of cooks put together every part in a business kitchen up in Mott Haven, and it is all hearty, full-flavored meals that travels properly and sits properly, the kinds of issues about which you’d say “it’s even better the next day” should you had been fortunate sufficient to have leftovers at house.
“Each dish is done by the chef who is from that country, so it’s really representative of their own take on the recipe. It’s authentic in that way,” mentioned Kahi. “For us, we don’t pretend that we are giving you, like, the authentic jollof rice for all of Senegal, it’s Chef Mariama’s take on jollof rice. So it’s all very personal. It’s as if they were cooking for their families, except now it’s a much, much more extended family.”
Of 5 totally different dishes sampled on a go to after closing this week, every part was distinctive. The Hen Yassa featured a multitude of tender thigh meat in a mustardy sauce, the Venzuelan Caraotas Negras was sturdy and spicy, the Iraqi Sumac Salad shiny and vigorous, the yellow Sri Lankan Dhal among the many finest variations I’ve ever had of that dish.
There are just a few tables inside the Eat Offbeat area, and just a few more within the concourse, plus tons of outside seating on sixteenth Road by the semi-secret door subsequent to the elevator. A couple of packaged snacks can be found — the Sengalese Spiced Candied Peanuts are significantly good — with more to are available that division as properly.
So Eat Offbeat is an instantaneous Chelsea neighborhood go-to — should you work upstairs at Google, your lunch is sorted for the foreseeable future — however there’s additionally an even bigger image right here. “We have three goals in mind at Eat Offbeat,” mentioned Kahi. “The first is to create quality jobs for talented refugees who want to be in the food industry. The second is to build bridges, to connect us with customers eating our food in the home, the office, and now, at Chelsea Market. And the third goal ultimately is about changing the narrative around refugees, and around immigration. We’re here to add value to the city.”
Eat Offbeat is positioned inside the Chelsea Market concourse, nearer to the Tenth Avenue entrance and on the sixteenth Road aspect, and is at present open on Wednesday by Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (eatoffbeat.com)