Conflict Kitchen's latest menu is "Palestinian Take-Out." Sample familiar Middle Eastern fare like baba ghanoush, or try: the Palestinian national dish, musakhan (toasted flatbread with chicken, onion and sumac); rumaniyya (an eggplant, lentil and pomegranate stew whose spices summon North Africa); or maftoul, a couscous dish with chicken that's this Schenley Plaza kiosk's top seller since the menu launched on Oct. 6. For dessert, there's harissa, a dense, honey-sweet semolina and yogurt cake.
Conflict Kitchen, founded in 2010, serves cuisine from countries with which the U.S. is in conflict; co-founder Jon Rubin cites the billions in U.S. military aid to Israel. Rubin, a Carnegie Mellon art professor, and Conflict Kitchen chef Robert Sayres designed the menu after visiting the West Bank last summer. Palestinian Take-Out is the Kitchen's most popular iteration yet, with up to 350 customers a day, says Rubin.
Regulars include Hadeel Salameh, a U.S.-born Pitt senior whose parents are from Palestine, and who visits relatives there often. "It's delicious," she says of the menu. "It tastes like Palestine."
Palestinian Take-Out has generated controversy over its supplementary programming, including big, fold-out food wrappers featuring interviews with Palestinians on topics ranging from food to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Other programs include The Foreigner, a weekly session with a "human avatar" who channels a live phone chat between patrons and someone in Palestine.