Chow Down on Modern Renditions of Jewish Eats at Simcha

Local toque Avi Shemtov brings Sephardic Jewish cuisine to the ’burbs.

Courtesy photo

With Simcha, Avi Shemtov explores his culinary roots—through his family tree. The chef’s just-opened restaurant in his hometown of Sharon, named for his grandmother, serves locally rare Sephardic Jewish cuisine, reflective of that community’s Iberian and Arab-world influences and different from more widely available Ashkenazi Jewish food like borscht and kugels. Anchored by a wood-fired oven for baking pitas and a wall of white Jerusalem stone covered with a graffiti-style portrait of Shemtov’s sweet savta, Simcha pays homage to her traditional recipes and his New England upbringing: think kibbeh nayyeh (raw minced meat) of local venison; shakshuka, poached eggs in spicy tomato sauce (pictured); and a very non-kosher za’atar-spiced lobster roll with pickled lemon aioli. (Shemtov also tapped buzzy pastry chef Kate Holowchick to develop Simcha’s pita program and desserts.) “We’re in a time where it’s really cool to take peasant food and elevate the heck out of it,” Shemtov says.

370 S. Main St., Sharon, 781-867-7997,