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Haute Middle Eastern Cuisine Arrives in New Jersey


Chef Elie Kahlon of Novo puts the finishing touch on a salmon dish.

April 29, 2015
By Curt Schleier

Diners at Novo, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, likely appreciate the spices, imported from the Middle East, that accent their meals. Some might even be aware that their food was cooked on an open-flame oven called a taboon or that a special Arabic steamer was used to prepare the couscous.

But will they get that every dish comes with a heavy dollop of memory, forged in the Israeli-born chef’s upbringing? Hard to say. But the chef in question, Elie Kahlon, certainly hopes so.

But for the Middle Eastern music that’s piped into the dining room at Novo, the restaurant/s look and feel seem less Mediterranean than American contemporary, with modern fixtures lighting chic wooden tables. Yet it all works quite well, thank you.

In fact, the Record, the local paper, recently called Novo “arguably North Jersey’s best new restaurant.” It had been In business less than half a year when it earned 3½ out of 4 stars from the paper’s restaurant critic last January.