Anthony Roses's 3rd Spot on Dupont
I’d call Anthony Rose’s new creation, Fat Pasha, an Israeli restaurant. But that’s doing it a bit of a disservice. The menu also includes Flanken (beef short ribs) and latkes (potato pancakes), which are decidedly old-school European Jewish foods. All can be enjoyed at this Dupont street eatery, located in the same building as the former Indian Rice Factory. It’s a little hard to find, if you don’t know where to look. (What is it with Rose and his fetish for keeping all or part of previous establishments’ signage on his joints?), but absolutely worth the search.
Phish and Grateful Dead posters adorn the walls of this small, funky and very noisy spot. Open only a few weeks when we went, it’s already hopping. The staff are helpful and friendly -you may recognize a few doing double duty from sister restaurants Rose and Sons or Big Crow. The bar list is playful. I had my very first (and then second) Pistachio Sour – a concoction of rye, sherry, lemon, pistachio, orgeat, egg whites and apricot ($13). There is a short list of Arak, a middle-eastern Anise-flavoured liqueur, which also appears in some of the other cocktails. There’s also wine offered by bottle or by the glass.
To get the full Fat Pasha experience, you should dine family style. We started with the hummus topped with swiss chard, raisins and pine-nuts. It was authentically garlicky, but at $12 perhaps should have come with more than one pita. Portions at Fat Pasha aren’t big; as compared to Rose’s other restaurants. Next came the Daily Salatim, a wide array of appetizers ($22) which included spicy carrot salad, roasted root vegetables, rapini tabouleh and my favourite of the bunch, the garlic fried tomatoes.
While the Flanken was tempting, we instead opted for the whole grilled fish (Market price – we had the Branzino, $28). It was offered two ways: with preserved lemon relish or with Craimeh. Our server steered us to the latter; The fish, stuffed with dill, was covered in a harissa hot yogurt sauce. We also ordered the Couscous with dried fruit, olives and date syrup ($14) and the whole Roast Cauliflower head ($18). The couscous paired perfectly with the fish, and while sweet, also had a bit of heat. By now you may have already heard about buzz-worthy cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower is not terribly hard to make at home. What makes Fat Pasha’s special (and perhaps worth the cost) is the topping of pomegranate, halloumi (a mild curd-like cheese), pine-nuts and tahina. The dish is visually striking and easy to share.
I saw a neighbouring table order the Latka Platter ($22) and strong-armed our guests into ordering it instead of dessert. Latkas, or fried potato pancakes, are traditionally served at Chanukah with sour cream and applesauce. Here, they’ve been re-imagined. The accompanying sour cream is dotted with caviar. The apple sauce replaced with slices of deep pink pastrami ,spiced, smoked trout, and a hunk of hot-smoked pickerel. The dish had a vaguely brunch-like vibe (Note: the latkas are not actually on the brunch menu), and although having nothing to do with middle-eastern fare, fit perfectly in context with the rest of our meal. If you enjoy middle-eastern or traditional Jewish food, done with a little modern flair, be sure to try Fat Pasha for Dinner, Lunch or Brunch.