Archive for the 'fine kosher dining in Manhattan' Category



10
Mar
11

Kaizen! Perfection at Prime Ko


Have you ever had one of those microcosmic moments in time encapsulating a window onto something so much bigger in its depth and substance? Though most of mine have not been food moments, this one surely was this past week at the Japanese inspired restaurant Prime Ko (217 West 85th Street New York, NY 10024-3901 – (212) 496-1888) when I tasted Chef Makoto Kameyama’s signature sushi Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna appetizer. But more about that in a moment…

CS and I were escorted into the ground floor dining area; they’ve got a lower level with a wet bar, TV screen and more seating. Décor showed subtle Japanese influences. The waiting area had these lovely brown leather boxy ’kabuki’ shaped chairs and couch, fresh orchids on a dark rectangular table, with a wall of hand-painted coral peonies on soft aqua…

Wall dividers of slatted mahogany separated one area from another; windows were shaded with white bamboo semi-transparent treatments. Seating was brown textured suede on wood, a few striped suede backed benches, all tucked into square darkwood tables. Settings consisted of simple white geometric china, flatware laid out on deep red bamboo textured placemats, and chop-sticks resting on logo enhanced wood pieces. Lighting was recessed in one area and a framed oval shaped ruched red fabric with a back lit center aperture against the far wall, with a row of rice textured globe light fixtures in the other area.

A partial view...

Esteemed Chef Makoto Kameyama, the former prized Sushi Chef at Prime Grill for the past ten years, has served as Executive Chef at Prime Ko since it opened last year. His experience began in Tokyo where he assisted his father, a prominent Edo-sushi chef running a successful restaurant in Japan. In1981, Chef Kameyama came to the US and opened his own Japanese restaurant. Transitioning to Japanese kosher posed quite a challenge. Aside from the dietary restrictions on pork, shrimp, crustaceans, etc. sourcing fine quality kosher fish for sushi and sashimi, replacing basic Japanese cooking elements like bonita flakes and dashi (made of fish bone, until recently unavailable with a kosher certification), achieving consistent textures and creating exciting sauces were but a few of the obstacles he faced.

Chef Kameyama is very pleased with healthy low fat and low cal Japanese cuisine becoming staple of the American diet. Be it the DHA and heart healthy fresh fish, lung healthy miso, or vitamin mineral-rich seaweed, it is thanks to Japanese cuisine masters like Kameyama that this healthy streamlined fare is taking the nation by storm.

Now, back to our meal… The opening appetizer was an assortment of Rainbow Roll, yellowtail, tuna, and salmon sashimi and that fabulous Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna I mentioned earlier. That was the defining moment of kaizen (Japanese for perfection) . The mouthful of toasted rice cake topped with spicy tuna pureed with bell pepper, topped with jalapeño and aioli sauce was a bite of pure perfection. The creative combination of textures and genius flavors conjoining to taste so remarkably well, spoke volumes about the artistry of a chef whose collective experience and expertise arrive at the table each time this signature dish is served. Bravo! Omedetou!

Sushi and Sashimi

But we were just getting warmed up… CS and I shared lovely grilled miso Chilean Sea Bass skewers in a spicy teriyake sauce served aside sautéed bok choy & veggies which couldn’t help but be outshined by an outstanding Tuna Delmonico, edged in breading served with jalapeño sauce, wasabi, beet and ginger sauce, with a side of soba noodles and pickled radish/onion/carrot garnish.

Tuna Delmonico

Our waiter, Al, our server, Lebron, treated us like royalty; they were friendly, efficient, informed. I thought we were getting the ‘special treatment’, but service to the tables nearby was just as extraordinary. Al, had the menu and wine pairings memorized down to the last nori seaweed bit & dot of sauce. Service was the epitome of high Japanese hospitality; water goblets refilled with Prime Ko’s own filtered carbonated water, napkins refolded, tables cleaned between courses, and soy sauce, dishes and silverware replaced with the arrival of each new dish.

We enjoyed a cleansing, refreshing Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio 2007 as we waited for our next course, a medley of kobe chopped beef dishes. We sampled Kobe Meatballs with ground ginger and garlic in miso sesame sauce, spicy Kobe Pizza - crispy dough, house made marinara topped with chopped salad & chopped wagyu. Wagyu Beef Sliders – a mini kobe hamburger with spicy aioli and teriyake sauce – completed this tasty Americanized trio.

Cutlery was replaced again with a fresh set including steak knives. I starved myself till dinner in anticipation, but this was turning out to be a most extravagant meal… The best was next! Three ounces of the most amazing Kobe/Wagyu steak resting on a slab of Himalayan salt rock witha side of white mushroom cooked at our table with a spritz of fresh lime. When quality is this good, extra spicing could only detract from it natural flavors – it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Taken before being cooked at table-side. 3 ozs of marbled beauty!

The second steak dish was a 6 oz. Grain Fed Chateau-Briand with vegetable rice served with a jalapeño/uzu/teriyake sauce, with salad and rice. The steak was so good, I would have preferred the sauce on the side.

Steak Chateau-Briand

Chef then surprised us with Eggplant Dengaku. Baked eggplant topped with miso and sesame sauce. Unusual, and superbly tasty. The evening’s crown,  came with the creative and most beautiful desert dish pictured below.

Beautiful presentation, superlative tasting

Two crepes laid out like a Japanese fan, topped with blueberries and strawberries with hot chocolate sauce, sprinkled with green tea powder and confectioner’s sugar that looked like fairy dust. Need I say more?

A brilliant meal overall. Our thanks to Chef Kameyama and the staff of Prime Ko for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

SYR

Prime Ko on Urbanspoon

16
Feb
11

This Evening’s Internet Radio Show…


Last week we interviewed Chef Jack Silberstein from Jack’s Gourmet Kosher. You can hear that broadcast here.

This evening’s guest will be Tammy Cohen. Mrs. Cohen does marketing for various restaurants including Prime Grill, Solo. Tammy and her husband Sidney are currently partners with Chef Haim Dadi (formerly of Mr. Broadway) and some investors in 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400).

About 3 years ago Tammy Cohen started her own consulting business, Tammy Cohen Marketing and Consulting DBA JADE Marketing, her clients span across various industries, with entrepreneurs who want to get their product, service or business name and information out. She started out with traditional marketing methods, but in this information age she quickly adapted to the new worlds of email marketing and social media marketing.

It was precisely her knowledge of marketing and marketing research that were instrumental in the Cohens locating their restaurant in the Upper East Side as soon as the premises of the former Turquoise Restaurant became available and Tammy spotted a niche open for a glatt kosher eatery that offered deli, grill, sushi and big salads. Nothing of this nature existed on the upper east side in both a pleasing environment and at sharp and reasonable pricing.  18 Restaurant has fine tuned both their sushi and main menus since their opening reflecting what has worked with their customers and what has not. Over the past months they’ve have added a beautiful sushi bar and an extraordinary sushi chef who came to them from NOBU. He is known for amazing sauces and presentation and prides himself on creativity. Another addition to the restaurant was receiving our liquor license which brought in a whole new level of business.

Tammy will talk to us on the specific challenges of operating a fine kosher restaurant in today’s economy.

Just listen in, gentle reader, at 8:00pm on Wednesday, February 16th, on Jewish Radio Network. Enter the site and click on the red “here” under the white “Radio,” then wait about 30 to 90 seconds for the application to start streaming.

CS

04
Feb
11

More Superbowl Specials…


SYR and I spent such a wonderful evening last night with Sidney and Tammy Cohen at 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400). It was worth braving the cold and ice to have the opportunity to shmooze with them.  The restaurant was hopping with the evening crowd, who also ignored the weather to get a consistently great meal at 18. Tammi and her husband are so friendly and have such good business and food sense, it was great to see their restaurant thriving.

I had to have the Yemenite Meat Soup again, aside from the perfect weather conditions it’s just too good to pass up (this is winter comfort food at its best!). I’ve tasted this soup at a few well known establishments and I can assure you none came even close.

18‘s got a new sushi chef from NOBO.  I dont know what magic this guy puts int0 his sushi and sauces, but they were extraordinary. We  had his sushi roll and a  shredded fish salad, they tasted sensational. Considering that until 14 months ago I did not even touch anything remotely resembling a fish, you can believe this is very high praise!

If, unlike me, you are not into Indian food, 18 Restaurant is having their own Superbowl Special:

Colorful and delicious

  • 10 ASSORTED OVERSTUFFED DELI SANDWICHES
  • 10 ASSORTED SUSHI ROLLS
  • COLESLAW, PICKLES, POTATO SALAD
  • 30 ASSORTED MINI POTATO KNISHES, HOT DOGS IN BLANKET, MUSHROOMS IN PUFF DOUGH

$199

Now that they have their Liquor License,  18 Restaurant will – every motzey Shabbat (open from 8:00 pm to midnight) – give you a free glass of wine with dinner.

Warm and friendly

We raved about 18 Restaurant‘s food before, having revisited this eatery, we still rave about it. The sushi is superb, the soup is delicious and will warm your bones on any cold winter day, their hamburgers are in a class of their own. Why not give them a try? If this isn’t one of your favorite kosher restaurants already, it soon will be!

CS

26
Sep
10

Some of the Restaurants with Sukkahs


18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400) Sukkah on Wheels, parked in front of the restaurant.

etc steakhouse (1409 Palisade Avenue; Teaneck, NJ 07666; Telephone: 201.357.5677).

Le Marais (150 West 46th Street – Between 6th and 7th Ave – New York, NY 10036; Tel: 212.869.0900) Sukkah seats 25, no reservations taken.

Olympic Pita (58 West 38th Street; New York, NY 10018; Telephone: 212.869.7482) Sukkah for up to 15 people.

Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; Telephone: 212.692.9292) Giant sukkah, seats up to 90 people.

Smokey Joe’s (494 Cedar Lane; Teaneck, NJ. 07666; Telephone: 201.836.7427). They will be making their special Mediterranean Lamb Stew with Cauliflower and White Beans for Sukkot. It is made with their own smokey, lamb merguez sausage. It is the perfect dish for the sukkah because you can make it very hot and keep it covered in a dutch oven while sitting in your sukkah. You and the stew will stay warm! $13.99 a lb. And with yom tov being 2 days at a time, so Smokey Joe’s is also presenting a two-fer, order any of this items and the second is on the house:

BBQ Chicken
Quart of Beef Chili
BBQ Meatloaf – 1lb

Limit of only one to a party

Shalom Bombay’s Sukkot Take-out Special

Photo by: Koshertopia

Shalom Bombay, has no Sukkah at either the newly opened Manhattan or at the original Teaneck locations. They do offer a choice of two succulent take out menus, however:

Menu #1

Service for 8 people: $150 / Service for 12 people $210

Choice of soup
Tandoori Chicken
Beef Korma
Vegetable Curry
Basmati Rice
Naan Bread

Menu #2

Service for 8 people: $200 / Service for 12 people $290

Choice of soup
Vegetable Samosa
Chicken Tikka Masala
Tandoori Beef
Vegetable Kofta Curry
Basmati Rice
Naan Bread
Rice Pudding

Great additions to enhance your holiday meal

Lollypop Chicken Platter: $50 small tray / $95 large tray
Vegetable Appetizer Platter:
$50 small tray / $95 large tray
Dum Aloo Kasmiri:
$50 small tray / $95 large tray
(Potatoes stuffed with dry fruits, mildly spiced and cooked in a tomato sauce)

Shalom Special Naan (Stuffed bread with dried fruit): $4/order
Carrot Pudding:
$4/order

CS

11
Jun
10

18 Restaurant


Eighteen ‘s marketing team has an innate business sense predicated by one important rule of the game; know your  customers’ tastes and quickly adapt accordingly. Just open three weeks,  18 is taking off like gang-busters. Inheriting a great restaurant design modified with red accents, its managing team created an upscale, sophisticated 21st century deli, with a few marvelous twists.  They’ve hired a terrific sushi chef from Salt Lake City, who creates one mouth-watering roll after another. Chef Haim Dadi, the main chef,  flips so many fat burgers-to-go, it’s making Popeye’s Wimpy cry (it’s the quality of the meat, baby! They buy top-of-the-line.).  Chef Haim kept the best of the Moroccan-Israeli fare, kept the great fish and salads, and offers a great assortment of grilled steak entrees.

Located where Turquoise used to be, 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400), opened its doors barely three weeks ago. We felt a welcoming warmth as soon as we walked in…

...a partial view

We sat on a corner next to the turquoise wall that once made the late Turquoise so distinctive. SYR and I started the meal with their Salt Lake City Sushi Roll.

Salt Lake City Roll, colorful, delicious!

It came with tuna, avocado, cucumber, tempura crumbs, soy glaze and a spicy masago. Neither, SYR nor I have been great fans of sushi BUT this roll was amazing!

We both followed with the Yemenite Soup with Meat.

Yemenite Meat Soup

It comes with potatoes, carrots and meat, its aroma and taste linger on for quite a while. This is a new favorite of mine!

Next we shared a large Israeli Combination Platter consisting of hummus, babaganush, Turkish salad and tahini, we dipped our Morrocan Cigars and the baguettes in it for new combinations of rich flavors. Their delectable Israeli Salad with chopped cucumber, tomato w/parsley, lemon and olive oil proved that fancy ingredients are not always necessary to create wholesome, delicious salads but… freshness is!

Next, SYR had the Eighteen’s Beef Burger, 8 ozs topped with mushroom and sitting on a bed of fried onions inside a brioche bun. It came with sides of a sliced sour pickle and French fries. It looked great, and tasted superb. It was obvious why this particular dish is one of their bestsellers.

I followed with Romanian Tenderloin Steak, it came with fresh grilled peppers and superb Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Romanian Tenderloin

As I’ve said before, I grew up in Uruguay where steak was an almost daily dinner staple, I know steaks!  This one was tender, very juicy and full of flavor. Even my mother couldn’t have made it any better!

Whatever you do, don’t miss their Yemenite meat soup.  It’s delicioussssssssss! The portions are generous, the prices more than reasonable. What more can you ask?!?

CS

18 on Urbanspoon

09
Jun
10

Tiberias


Comfortable, relaxed, upscale, delicious… Those words barely describe this brand new eatery in Midtown Manhattan. Tiberias (45 East 34th Street; NY, NY 10016; Tel: 212.481.4222). is under OK supervision, its fare is cholov Yisroel dairy. SYR and I went there yesterday at mid afternoon, less than a week after it opened. It may be brand new but, the two Steinhart brothers have been working in and managing restaurants for the last five years, in spite of their very young ages. This is the realization of their dream, a dream of having a unique restaurant with something different than the standard offerings. If this is how they started, it will not just be a dream!

A partial view of Tiberias Restaurant

SYR started the meal with the Stuffed Mushrooms, stuffed  with fresh vegetables topped with mozzarella and doused in cream sauce.

5 button mushrooms, stuffed with vegetables, topped with mozarella, doused in cream sauce.

She found it very flavorful, each ingredient combined for a delicious, perfect, appetizer.

I had the Gravalax. Homemade smoked salmon with potato crustini and cucumber salad with dill and mustard,  subtly flavored and very good to the palate.

We then shared the Special of the Day, Pasta del Sol. It consisted of penne with cream sauce and cherry tomato culis, topped with a nicely sized grilled Atlantic salmon.

Considering it was a hot, humid day SYR accompanied the meal with a Lime & Srawberry Smoothie, made from freshly squeezed lime juice, a bit of lemon zest,  fresh strawberries and crushed ice. It looked great and tasted even better. I had the Coffee Slim Shake (it’s sugar free, but you wouldn’t believe it from that great taste!), it came with ice cream, skim milk and was topped with cocoa powder. On the table next to us, a young lady was feasting on an interesting looking Affogato de Gelato, her expression told us it must have tasted heavenly. She explained to us that she’s enjoyed it here before, it consists of a large scoop of sugar free vanilla ice cream, in a boiling shot of espresso served in a martini glass…

We ended the meal with their Jack Daniels Cheese Cake, this is a Mozart type cheese cake with 2% percent of Jack Daniels whiskey. It tasted superb  and looked great, served with three ice cream scoops, some whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Jack Daniels Cheese Cake

SYR had a Torino Hot Chocolate, gourmet hot chocolate with a partially submerged milk chocolate bar… buonissimo, ottimo!!! I had their Cappuccino, an espresso with steamed milk topped with foam, made from Italy’s famed Danesi Gold Beans…. subtly sweet with a pinch of brown sugar, artistically presented.

Tiberias Cappuccino

A great experience in a brand new eatery with a nice ambiance; as SYR puts it, NO-GUILT DELISH! This definitely calls for an encore…

CS

22
Apr
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 2 – Recipes!


As we promised, here are 2 recipes Lévana has graciously allowed us to share with our readers.

Minted Lamb Kebobs

Ingredients

1 medium onion, quatered
4 large cloves garlic
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, including stems
1 bunch mint, leaves only
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
Good pinch cayenne, or more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 pounds extra lean ground beef, or extra lean ground lamb, or a combination.

Directions

Prepare the grill or preheat the broiler. Finely grind the onion, garlic, parsley and a mint in a food processor (pulse: do not let mixture get watery). Transfer to a bowl and add the cumin, paprika, cayenne, pepper and beef.

Form logs about 1″ in diameter and about 4″ long. Thread on wet wooden skewers. or on metal skewers. Broil 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve hot. Serve 2 to 3 skewers per guest.

Makrod: Semolina Date Pastries

I have always rather neglected this wonderful treat, as the traditional preparation requires frying, my nemesis: I don’t think I have more than a handful of fried dishes in my whole repertoire. But I tweaked the recipe to do my bidding as a baked, not fried, treat, and the result is scrumptious! I have streamlined it further by shaping it as bars. Sephardi flavors at their best! Gluten-free: Use GF flour and GF semolina.

Preparing the Makrod

Preparing Makrod

Ingredients

Dough

3 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
2 cups farina or semolina
1 tablespoon baking powder
A little water as needed

Filling:

1 pound pitted chopped dates
1 1/2 cups very hot water
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
Peel of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons orange flower water

Topping:

1 1/2 cups honey

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the dough ingredients thoroughly, and knead it on a board for just a minute or two, adding a little water if necessary to obtain a smooth dough. Set aside.

Process all the filling ingredients in a food processor, using the pulse button to avoid splattering, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick, about 11 inches wide and 14 inches long. Transfer onto a well-greased cookie sheet with straight sides (don’t worry if it doesn’t cover the whole surface). Cover the dough evenly with the filling. Repeat with the remaining dough, and place gently over the filling (it’s OK if it breaks, just patch it). Bake about 40 minutes, or a little longer, until golden. Immediately pour the honey evenly over the whole pastry. Let it cool, then cut it in bars or squares.

–)xoOox(–

This coming Monday, April the 26th, Lévana’s “Dinner and a Show” at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan (200 Amsterdam Ave – at 69th Street – New York, NY 10023) will be: Seasonal Spring Bounty. As she describes it:

Winter is over and wonderful vibrant food colors and fragrances are upon us in every food display: cheer up and enjoy them while they last! Life would be more meaningful to all of us if we respected the seasons more, with the specific gift each season has to offer! This menu is 100% gluten-free, naturally and effortlessly!

I will be demonstrating:

  • Lemon chicken breasts with artichoke and carrot
  • Zucchini and fennel soup
  • Haricots verts, roasted peppers and heirloom tomato salad with grey salt
  • Herbed yukon fingerlings
  • Plum granola tart
  • Click here to register and view other upcoming classes

    Remember to mention The Kosher Scene and you’ll get a discount.

    Lévana with some of the class regulars, flanked by members of her staff

    SYR and I will be there, hope you will too. You won’t regret it!

    CS




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