Miznon opens in Seaport, bringing casual Israeli cuisine to Boston
Miznon, which opened on April 6 in the Seaport near the new The Rocks at Harbor Way and Sea Green Park, is shaking up the great American sandwich – the cheeseburger.
Miznon is the fast-casual restaurant brand of Israeli chef Eyal Shani’s growing international empire. The seaport is home to Miznon’s fourth location in the United States, after three branches in New York.
The restaurant’s open-plan space is modern, with huge blackboards and recipes scrawled across the street. Inside and out there are around 57 seats, although some are benches – in Hebrew “miznon” means a canteen, a casual or take-out place.
“It’s a welcoming and fun environment with vibrant music,” Mika Ziv, general manager of Miznon, told Boston.com after a busy lunch service on opening day.
Divided into pitas and plates, and with a trio of desserts and only soft drinks, the short menu sings with intriguing dishes, like this cheeseburger, called the Folded Cheese Burger, which is both bunless and presented vertically. So is it a cheeseburger or is it not a cheeseburger?
“It’s a cheeseburger,” Ziv said. “Just with a patty folded over cheese, and it’s in a pita bread instead of a bun. It’s not a burger you eat with ketchup and mayonnaise.
A regional specialty created for Miznon Boston is the Fish ‘N’ Chips pita, a nod to the retro British takeaway that features potato aioli and vinegar. The menu also includes local, more sustainable hake pita with tomato, tahini and peppers.
What really stand out are the succulent vegetables, like the batata – tender baked sweet potato – and a tiny roasted cauliflower flavored with tahini, tomato salsa, green peppers and green onions, which is served on a plate or in a pita with lavender. Chef Shani first found culinary inspiration from his grandfather, a dedicated agronomist and vegan, who exposed a young Shani to local markets, farms and vineyards.
“Our cauliflower is our signature dish,” Ziv said. “It’s an example of our philosophy that we give the same respect to vegetables that other restaurants give to meat or fish. Being from Israel, which is a hot place, we eat a lot of vegetables and fruits.
One thing in Miznon that is not traditional in Israeli cuisine is the lack of dried spices.
“We don’t use spices at Miznon. We use salt, pepper, tahini and olive oil,” Ziv said. “We have dried za’atar leaves,” she noted — za’atar is once a common wild thyme in Israel. “But it is related to our vegetables and is not used as a spice. It is not typical of Israeli cuisine. The idea is not to mask the flavor of the fresh vegetables.
Miznon, 107 Seaport Blvd., Boston. 11am-8pm, Mon.-Sun. miznonnyc.com