In the restaurant world's constant search for the new new thing, there's a time-honored trend of elevating a humble ethnic street food or snack by removing it from its accustomed setting — be it a stand, a dive, or a home kitchen — and surrounding it with upscale trappings: a chic, comfortable dining room (no Formica tables or fluorescent lighting), relaxing alcoholic beverages, and contemporary background music. This enables, for example, a new "modern Israeli" restaurant in Brooklyn to charge $14.50 for its chicken shawarma — admittedly a "deconstructed fancy-pants chicken shawarma," to quote a recent review — though many of these places serve straightforward versions of... More >>>