SYKO’s Syrian and Korean Cuisines, Side by Side

Why not take it a step further and wrap it all into a sandwich, known as Shawarma? Mazen, a graduate of Emma’s Torch restaurant in Brooklyn, saw a connection between Arabic cuisine and Korean barbecue. One day, Mazen shared a home-cooked Korean meal with his family, blending bulgogi and rice with lettuce leaves folded as a sandwich. Mazen, who grew up in Windsor Terrace, his parents owning a grocery store there, met Rosette, now his husband and co-owner of a small takeout shop called Rosette’s Grocery. That same year, Rosette, her mother, and her brother arrived in Brooklyn as refugees from Syria, adding to the story of the creation of this glorious restaurant.

The menu at Fatboy The, which is co-owned by Mazen, Kim, and the three Khoury siblings, features two distinct sets of dishes: one composed of cauliflower, fried in tahini and served with labneh, and the other consisting of shiitake mushrooms sautéed with gochujang and served with matchstick carrots. Mazen, Kim, and the Khoury siblings decided to present these sets side by side, but also experimented with combining elements from each cuisine to create a fusion menu. This fusion, known as SYKO (a portmanteau of Korean and Syrian), is a reflection of their creative approach to cuisine.

Instead of Asian apple and mirin, the same (halal) beef and chicken utilized for the bulgogi transforms into shawarma, soaked in cinnamon and cumin and served with rice or fries, or enveloped in both pita and saj, a thinner flatbread, with either tomato and onion or pickles and pomegranate molasses. The categories tied closely, disregarding the Fatboy, which stands alone in its own league. I attempted to ascertain whether one cuisine was executed more excellently than the other during numerous SYKO meals, both at home and in the restaurant, which only has a few seats (the majority of the establishment’s business is takeout and delivery). I was pleased to discover that.

I was delighted to be served a refreshing salad of cold lemon juice and olive oil, mixed gently with chunks of fat scallion and parsley, then mashed boiled potatoes. The dish was enhanced with flecks of garlic and cilantro, accompanied by a spicy crimson sauce called shatta, which transformed the crispy Syrian-style deep-fried nuggets. Equally impressive was the Korean home fries, stir-fried in silky sesame oil and blanched before being cut into strips. The chewy, kidney-shaped disks of vegetarian cracked-wheat kibbeh were also a pleasing addition, along with pickled zucchini, radish, cucumber, carrots, and spinach packed into seaweed rice rolls known as vegetarian kimbap. I couldn’t have been happier with this meal.

♦.) $26.50-5 Plates.) (Small plaques explain that both groups of immigrants arrived in the first converging tracks in the eighteen-eighties. A mural depicting the bygone neighborhood of Little Syria and the thriving Koreatown still marks the street signs on West Thirty-second and Broadway. On the wall above SYKO’s refrigerated-drinks case, there is a mural depicting a case. The dessert consists of small pancakes called hotteok, filled with stuffed dates medjool and cinnamon, and filled with shredded coconut or rose petals. The pancakes are also encased in dark chocolate and filled with peanut butter and brown sugar.