Contemporary Israeli Food Pops Up in Roslindale in October

Avi Shemtov of the Chubby Chickpea and Jeff Gabel of Kitchen Kibitz are behind the month-long Simcha.

Avi Shemtov of Simcha

Avi Shemtov and the Chubby Chickpea food truck. / Photo by Faith Ninivaggi provided

A couple of the Boston area’s heavy hitters in Jewish cuisine are teaming up on a new, short-term pop-up next month—but there’s no gefilte fish in sight. Chefs Avi Shemtov and Jeff Gabel take a global approach to the food of their ancestral homeland at Simcha, which pops up weekends in October at the former Seven Star Bistro.

“Israeli cuisine today is sleek, stylish and sexy with inspirations from around the world,” says Shemtov in a press release. “Wherever the Jewish people have lived they have picked up local flavors, be it Persian, African, European or American, and brought those flavors into their homes and back to Israel.”

This series is the culmination of something the Chubby Chickpea chef has been thinking about and developing for years. “It’s how I cook at home, with friends, for family,” Shemtov says.

He’s signed on Best of Boston pop-up (2015) Kitchen Kibitz chef Gabel, and sous chefs including Falco Rodriguez (the Smoke Shop), to help him bring it to life. With New England-raised meats and seafood at the forefront, expect a la carte dishes like local lamb belly cassoulet with heritage pork sausage, salt pork, and beans; smoked goat blintzes with sweet cheese and cherry gastrique; cioppino with Ethiopian-style berbere spices; and milk-and-honey burrata with smoked persimmons, confit tomatoes, and eggplant.

Simcha is a Hebrew word for “joy,” and also describes a celebration centered on food and family. But it’s also Shemtov’s grandmother’s name. “So these dinners are both fun and deeply personal for me,” he says.

Gabel, a 2014 Zagat 30 Under 30 honoree, explored the global Jewish diaspora with chefs like Josh Lewin (Juliet) and Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother) during Kitchen Kibitz’s heyday. Shemtov, who keeps busy with his food truck and the Tapped Beer Truck, has done a few different pop-ups over the years, including a shakshuka brunch series at Seven Star. (The restaurant, which also hosted its own, recurring pop-ups called Rozzie Ramen and Astro Diner, shuttered over the summer.)

Simcha will serve dinner from 5-10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in October, and brunch is on Sundays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The property has a BYOB license, so keep that in mind.

October 5-29, 153 Belgrade Ave., Roslindale, thechubbychickpea.com.

Grilled octopus with spicy pickled mango, habanero, and <em>zhoug</em> from Simcha

Grilled octopus with spicy pickled mango, habanero, and zhoug from Simcha. / Photo provided by Avi Shemtov