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Jewish-Iraqi Pop-Up Restaurant in East Village to Preserve Traditions

By Serena Solomon | February 15, 2013 9:58am

EAST VILLAGE — Jewish-Iraqi comfort food will soon find a home in the culinary-rich East Village when a temporary pop-up restaurant open with the aim of preserving recipes that are a vital part of Jewish identity, its operators said.

The Kubbeh Project, on East Ninth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A, will turn the Zucker Bakery into a "cozy hole-in-the-wall eatery" every night for three weeks starting March 1, according to a press release from operators.

The pop-up, a collaboration between Tel Aviv-based chef Itamar Lewensohn and Israeli cuisine specialist Naama Shefi, will "evoke the aromas of the Iraqi section of Jerusalem's Machne Yehooda Market," according to the release.

"The Kubbeh Project will explore the adaptation of traditional recipes to current times and place, and what it means to evoke these flavors within the accustomed constructs of dining, as well as creativity."

The release stated the food will be served in a "creative environment," utilizing a wine director and production designer for the space. 

The organizers declined to comment further for the article.

The menu will include recipes such as kubbeh stew and a Middle Eastern version of dumpling soup, as well as modernized Shabbat dishes such as the sabich — an Israeli pita sandwich stuffed with fried eggplant and hard-boiled eggs

The project will also host special "Iraqi- style" Shabbat dinners on the Friday nights it is open — March 1 , 8 and 15. The first event is already sold out, with the remainder yet to go on sale, according to the Kubbeh Project's listing on website Eventbrite.com

Diners can also munch into baked goods from Zucker Bakery, the release added.