After her hometown of Tel Aviv, ’s favorite city is Barcelona. “I like the simple food there,” she tells the Forward. “I love the atmosphere and the way they eat.”
Now, with a new restaurant set to open in early November, Admony will salute both places.
Combina will be her third eatery, after the pioneering Balaboosta and white-hot Bar Bolonat, both of which offer her personal takes on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. She also founded the hit Israeli-accented takeout joint Taim.
At Combina — the name’s Israeli slang for getting something done — she’s veering in a new direction: Small plates and tapas that bridge her most beloved flavors and techniques. “It’s a perfect combination,” she said. “Israeli food matches other cuisines easily. These are the bold flavors of what I know to do from my heritage, combined with the atmosphere, ingredients and techniques of Spanish cooking.”
Combina will mark a departure for Admony in other ways. “We’ve got limitations — there’s no basement, no walk-in, a tiny kitchen. All our dry storage is in the room itself,” she said. “That’s why we called it Combina. It’s hard to work with.”
But the space, which formerly housed a Japanese taco joint, “also got me and Molly [Breidenthal, Bar Bolonat’s executive chef] thinking about keeping it simple,” Admony said. “We’re getting the best ingredients in the market. We’re going really straightforward with the food. There aren’t too many brushes across the plate, too many ingredients or anything too complex. It’s simple and amazing.”
Vegetables will star on the menu, Admony said. And while there won’t be a lot of meat or fish, Combina will serve a range of seafood like boquerones and baby calamari. Admony also revealed that the menu will feature salted cod donuts with aioli, goat belly with harissa and romesco and haloumi a la plancha on a skewer with za’atar chimichurri.
And “we’ll have a lot of drinks,” Admony said. “Spanish and Israeli wines, signature cocktails and at least three different sangrias” in flavors like peach rose and cardamom.
Combina should also open faster than Bar Bolonat, which famously took more than a year and a half to get off the ground. “We’re just doing cosmetic work here,” she said. “The space is young, fun, easy, casual.”
Israeli art collective Broken Fingaz will paint a “colorful, poppy” mural.
We’ll report more about the menu and the space as opening day approaches.
Michael Kaminer is a contributing editor of the Forward.