Pan-European Surprises at Taboo Lounge

April 19, 2013 9:41 am Last Updated: May 6, 2013 7:24 pm

NEW YORK—Just steps away from Penn Station, along a block with two Irish bars, is the newly opened Taboo Lounge. At the kitchen’s helm is award-winning chef Igor Beloglazov, a tall Russian man with an easy smile and humble demeanor.

“My philosophy is to never stop and continue to learn,” he said via a translator. “My passion is to open a place , make it successful, and then pass on the knowledge to others.”

Beloglazov, who hails from Omsk, in southwestern Siberia, some 1,400 miles east of Moscow, has been cooking non-stop since he first showed skill at his grandmother’s knee when he was 6 years old. His mother surveyed his precocious work and announced he was going to make a good chef.

Her words turned out to be prophetic. Beloglazov has helmed the kitchen at nine restaurants so far, spanning a wide range of different European cuisines and winning medals at international culinary competitions along the way.

Pan-European Fusion

Each of the restaurants offered different cuisines, and so Beloglazov has trained in a wide repertoire of cuisines—from Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and the Caucasus, among others.

Drawing from his experience, he is curating a menu at Taboo Lounge that will surprise diners.

“My kitchen involves a lot of fusion,” he said. You’ll find a main dish from one country paired with a side from another country, or cooking techniques from different cuisines.

For example, Beloglazov makes a sweet-savory duck dish using a German marinade recipe with caraway seeds, stuffs it with dried fruit, as is common in Russian or Eastern European cooking, and roasts it using French technique. After three hours at low temperatures, the result is a tender duck that’s absorbed the fruits’ sweetness. The duck is then served with the sweet stuffing, and sides of sauerkraut and baby potatoes.

There is a fun inventiveness to his dishes.

A playful take on the classic grapes and cheese hors d’oeuvres is the cheese and grape candy appetizer—basically whole grapes covered in a delicious blend of creamy cheese (Beloglazov won’t reveal what it is) and then dusted in pan-toasted ground nuts and seeds. The mix of textures in your mouth is surprising at first but works well. This pairs well with wine.

For beer drinkers, there is a formidable plate of German sausages.

It’s all very good value, with specials starting around $9. Pasta dishes, and the sausage platter, are about $17.

Being a lounge, Taboo has a wide selection of drinks—from beer and wine to cocktails. The Taboo cocktail is a concoction of mandarin vodka, Alize, passionfruit liqueur, lychee liqueur, lychee, and lime juice. It also has the old standby bar food—burgers, wings, and the like ($7-$10).

Still, if you come by for lunch or dinner, why not opt instead to be surprised? There is something new every day, says owner Nadeja Fedorov. With chef Beloglazov heading the kitchen, there is no doubt about that.

Taboo Lounge
406 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10001
Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.