Aviv Immigrant Kitchen
Aviv relocated to this space after six years of operation on Dupont, adding 'Immigrant Kitchen' to their name.
This implies a wider range of global cooking methods and bolder flavours, though regulars can still expect a Mediterranean backbone to the menu.
The totally renovated space with just under 50 seats has an open, modular, level floor plan to make it easy to separate people on dates from those with strollers and those at the bar.
A shrimp ceviche ($14) from a selection of raw bites is prepared in a Filipino Kinilaw-style. Use crispy taro chips to dip into an addictive grab bag of young coconut, cucumber, seaweed, avocado, roasted peanuts, bird's eye chili and mango.
More hot and cold bites include a house hummus ($14) served with a house flatbread (all manners of breads are baked on site).
Nice and airy, I like the roasted wild mushrooms it's topped with, but roasted peppers and corn feel like distracting overkill.
Potato latkes ($14) are a bit salty but very comforting and crispy, topped with rich whipped farmers cheese that's cut by roast apple jam.
Lightly-cured Arctic char, creme fraiche, salmon roe and chive complete the picture decadently, crunchy (perhaps underdone) beets on the side.
Charcoal grilled boneless chicken leg skewers ($17) shine, marinated with garlic, lemon, urfa pepper, spices and herbs so they're tender and flavourful with nicely caramelized skin.
Plated atop charred zucchini and peppers, the chicken is complemented by creamy house labneh and a spin on tabbouleh that includes mango and pomegranate seeds.
Charred Moroccan grilled octopus ($16) is cooked excellently, sweet and tender inside with a smoky exterior.
Starchy slow cooked butter beans, cured Moroccan black olives, preserved lemon and chermoula all highlight the octopus, but a zinging romesco sauce and tiny lamb merguez patties are the unexpected stars of this plate.
If you're sick of the same old Spritzes, try a Spanish Cocktail from a list of $12 cocktails. Equally simple but a bit different, it's made with demerara sugar, bitters, brandy and cava.
Similarly, a 1934 Cosmopolitan is a boozy take on a Cosmo made with gin, Cointreau, raspberry and lemon.
As for wine, there are plenty of organic options on a list made up of personal selections.