Shuka might lead you to think shakshuka—the egg dish common to parts of North Africa, Israel and the Mediterranean—but restaurateurs Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer apparently just liked the word. But the name of their new restaurant on MacDougal street does evoke the kind of fare Chef Ayesha Nurdjaja will be cooking, which skews Eastern Mediterranean, with influences from many of the countries in the region.
Freeman and Meyer run popular restaurants that encompass Italian, Mexican and American fare (Vic's, Rosie's and Cookshop, respectively), and while Chef Nurdjaja has honed her Italian skills at spots like Felidia and A Voce, she'll utilize experiences traveling the Mediterranean region that includes places like Tel Aviv in her work at Shuka.
Expect mezze (dips, flatbreads, etc.), pork kofta and shawarma-spiced chicken on skewers, and entrees that include a vegetable paella packed with squash, eggplant, tomatoes, leeks and beans. Whole roasted fish and a tagine dish made with cod are also expected to be on the menu when the restaurant debuts on Friday evening.
Though Shuka takes over for Meyer and Freeman's former restaurant Hundred Acres, the team is quick to note that this is an entirely new restaurant. Photos of the interior weren't available prior to opening, but we're told to look for "blue and white ceramic Moroccan tiles with stenciled illustrations, banquettes with Moroccan-style patterned pillows and linen tufted ceiling curtains."
38 MacDougal Street; website still under construction.