GARFIELD, N.J. – After spending six years as a chef at Al Basha in Paterson, Nabil Haloom is branching out on his own to bring the flavors of his native Syria to his hometown of Garfield.
Haloom and his wife, Dara, are holding the grand opening of their Mediterranean restaurant, Haloom Cuisine, on Saturday, Oct. 22. Doors open at 11 a.m.
“My goal is to make everyone in the restaurant happy,” Haloom said, as he sat a table, set with a fresh plate of falafel, made with fried ground chickpeas and Arabian spices, a bowl of hummus and a basket of bread.
Haloom uses only fresh ingredients and cooks with Syrian and Lebanese spices. At Al Basha, he used Palestinian spices, and now that he is his own boss, he is happy to add his own flavor to his creations.
The restaurant held its soft opening on Sunday, and it is already receiving rave reviews on Yelp .
“Driving by I saw that Haloom was finally opened. Had my wife meet me there and proceeded to have one of the best Middle Eastern dinners in my life,” one reviewer noted.
“This is exactly the kind of place Garfield needs,” another wrote.
The menu features Baba Ghanouj (grilled eggplant pureed with tahini sauce, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil), Kufta Kebab (marinated and grilled ground meat with onions and parsley) and Chicken Shawerma Platter (marinated and seasoned shredded chicken).
For those who aren't quite ready to expand their pallets, there are also options like hamburgers and chicken tenders.
The space is decorated in a modern, eclectic manner, and it has an open kitchen, so customers can watch their food be made.
“We wanted it to be welcoming,” Dara Haloom said.
“Without my family and his family’s support, we wouldn’t be where we are now,” she added.
Her husband agreed. After all, he learned to cook from his mom back in Syria.
“To this day, everything that I need to know, I ask my mom,” he said.
Haloom Cuisine is located at 17 Outwater Lane. Visit haloomcuisine.com for more information.