Fans of shwarma made from mushrooms and burgers whose main ingredient is eggplant have a new option in Rockville, since the Israeli street food and kosher restaurant Shouk opened last week.
Located at Montrose Shopping Center, 5568 Randolph Road, next to Mom’s Organic Market, the plant-based restaurant is the third Shouk location in the Washington area. A Bethesda location, in Westwood Shopping Center, is slated to open in the winter.
On a warm afternoon last week, customers ate lunch at tables outside. Inside, music echoed between mustard-colored walls. On one wall, the eye of a hamsa, a Middle Eastern amulet popular in Israel, looked down on the service area. Behind the corrugated metal counter, staff prepared lunch orders: falafel, hummus and Dizengoff Salad.
“It’s street food that you’d see in a shuk,” an open-air market in Israel, said owner and founder Ran Nussbacher, explaining why he chose the name Shouk for his restaurant.
“A shuk represents real ingredients, colors, flavors — all the things you see when you go to a market.”
Nussbacher said he sees his customer base as coming from “Potomac to Silver Spring — Bethesda, North Bethesda, Kemp Mill.”
“We’re delighted,” said Sara Rubinow Simon, who had come to pick up lunch with her husband, Rabbi Matthew Simon. “The more kosher places the better.”