Archive for the 'fine restaurants' Category

19
Jul
12

Revisiting Sòlo


When you have a meeting, date or get together over food that needs to go flawlessly, Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building) is the place to be. A swank counterpart to the high tech-upscale Sony building and atrium it’s located in, Sòlo is what contemporary high class chic tastes like. From its sleek artsy glass exterior wall – flanked through by oil with infused vegetables – down to its impeccably styled up-scale food presentation, Sòlo defines high quality cuisine; the fact that it’s under strict kosher supervision is sub-rosa fringe to its superb fare and service.

Chef-de-cuisine Guillermo Quiroz, trained by Chef David Kolotkin was just a delightful; the look of pride as he brought and explained each dish, knowing without a doubt we would be as pleased to eat as he was to present it, added to the experience.

We stated our feast with a Big Eye Tuna Tartar accompanied by avocado, citrus, mango and chips. It was very fresh, succulent, and not in the least bit fishy tasting (a great start to a great meal!).

We followed with another appetizer, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, it came with celery root and Bosc pear puree, Swiss chard in a pomegranate reduction. Since I do not – on principle – eat veal, CS had it all to himself. Considering he cleaned the plate, I believed him when he described it as “superbly spiced, and absolutely delicious.”

Beef Carpaccio with spinach and grilled endive salad in a mustard and lemon vinaigrette came next. Well seasoned, beautifully presented, just perfect.

Next, came the pièce de résistance. We got the Roasted BBQ Short Ribs, sides were German potato salad and cauliflower puree. They reminded me of Mike’s Bistro‘s ribs. Sauce and flavors were excellent, the beef superbly tender, yet not overcooked.

Typical Uruguayan that he is, CS preferred the 8 oz Black Angus Steak au Poivre (available in 16 oz. as well), with caramelized onion puree, basil mash potatoes, and grilled asparagus in a red wine sauce. It was very flavorful, the crisp pepper top was just right, I just loved the wine sauce and onion puree combo. It’s hard to believe that in spite of its flavor, in spite of its tenderness, it was not aged meat.

The last main was a Pan Seared Black Angus Filet with turnip puree, mushroom ragout and fingerling potatoes in red wine sauce. Superb fare!

We washed it all down with a very good Binyamina Shiraz 2007, served to us by our favorite waiter, the multi-talented Eka Halim (he’s a professional photographer, as comfortable on a fashion shoot as on a bar mitzvah!). CS described the wine thus, “Deep garnet in color, medium bodied with soft tannins and a gentle wood influence. Smooth, round wine with blackberry and plum notes, with hints of tar and licorice.”

For dessert we shared two incredible creations by Pastry Chef Felencia Darius, now at Prime Butcher Baker. Warm Chocolate Cake with gingerbread ice cream and espresso sauce, the molten chocolate cake was superb and so was the sauce, but I expected more from the ice cream.

The evening’s crown, however, belongs to the Hazelnut Rocher, a hazelnut mousse with vanilla cream and a candied nut shell. Take my advise, folks, do not even think of leaving Sòlo without trying this one!

We had reservations for 6:00pm, by the time we finished at around 7:30pm there was not a single free table, not even in the private alcove we were in. People obviously know what’s good.

Though it was a superb dinner, and one that guarantees we’ll keep on revisiting again and again, we do have a minor criticism. We wish the presentations, as beautiful as they were, showed less repetitiveness.

SYR

Both Sòlo and its sister restaurant Prime Grill have a

Nine Day Menu.

05
Jul
12

Prime Grill, Revisited


It never ceases to amaze me how you think you know someone and then you get to experience them under a new set of circumstances, which amplify strengths, or identify weaknesses you had never seen before.  Last Tuesday evening, it applied to our restaurant experience. Chef David Kolotkin (check here, as well) of Prime Grill - a culinary virtuoso in taste and presentation - was refreshingly unpretentious and warm as he personally treated CS and I to a side of Prime Grill we had heretofore not experienced.

It’s through no fault of Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; Telephone: 212.692.9292) that we had such tunnel vision, in fact it is because their steaks are so consistently fabulous that we gravitate with Pavlovian/Flinstone salivation straight to the beef every time we are there. Last Tuesday was different;  we broke from the habitual to the unexpected and in some cases extraordinary dishes on the menu.

We started with a platter of sushi and sashimi which included lean tuna, yellowtail, organic Irish salmon and Prime Grill roll- grilled yuzo-miso glazed black cod, cucumber, sesame-teriyaki sauce, topped w/tuna & avocado.

The quality and freshness of the fish was so good, it needed nothing more than the traditional ginger wasabi and soy sauce for accompaniment.

When it came to taste enhancing sauces sushi Chef Wibi did not disappoint us with his Yellowtail “Carpaccio” with yuzu ponzu and jalapeno, with togarashi – a citrus based sauce that greatly enhanced the yellowtail.

Now if you’ve been regular readers of our blog, you know that we are not from the big fish lovers and I was hoping they’d roll out the big side of beef soon that would set our four stone wheeled skin covered jeep off  kilter, and we were thrown off balance, astonishingly so by the House Smoked Wild Organic King Salmon and by all things a Maryland Style Fish Cake

The salmon circumferenced the poached egg on a crunchy toasted bottom that burst with noble flavors worthy of a king’s fare.

And the Maryland Style Fish Cake a whole grain mustard veloute, black bean & corn salsa- was sapid perfection; delicate, perfectly done! I almost didn’t want to share… fake crab? What’s happening to me?

The Atlantic Salmon Tartar with avocado capers and yucca chips was very tasty, a lovely mingling of flavors, though I would have preferred it served on a toasted or crunchy base.

Salad came next,  Bresaola Carpaccio, thin parchment like rectangles of cured beef filet served with arugula, roasted pepper, toasted pine nuts, shitake chips, crispy onions and a reduced port-wine drizzle. Superb!!! Ahh, the drizzle! That drizzle was especially good

We followed with the beef slider assortment was a mouthful of perfection. Each slider a world onto itself Kobe Beef with Pickled Chips & Ketchup, Moroccan Lamb with Arugula & Mint Yogurt, Brisket with Whole Grain Mustard Aioli, Buffalo Chicken with Fresh Herbs & Spicy BBQ Sauce and Black Angus with Mushrooms and Porcini Aioli. Woooow.

We segued with a Delmonico Steak; it came with tobacco onion rigns and a marrow bone.  CS was aching to remove the tiny fork and suck the bone dry, but… ettiquette prevailed.

Finally we got to the desserts, we started with the Tropical Vacherin

with mango/coconut sorbet, pineapple compote and salty macadamias macarons - my friends I’ve had macarons and I have had macarons, but the macadamia macarons served were in a class by themselves. How can a macaron be as light as air and so densely flavoured, at the same time?!? Only Solo‘s Chef Felenciana knows how!

We followed with their heavenly…

Chocolate Cake.

We finished this royal repast with a Honey and Rosemary Apple Galette…

with rosemary infused honey, savory dough and “butter” pecan ice cream. Delicate tasting, beautiful to look at, the plethora of flavors emanating from this dessert can satisfy just about everyone’s palate.

The Cappuccino was among the best I’ve tasted, a worthy crown to this superb and satisfying meal!

As you can tell by the pictures every dish was artfully presented, engaging all the senses.

During the meal we each had 2 glasses of wine. I sipped a Binyamina Bin Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, while CS had a Goose Bay Pinot Noir 2010.

My Cabernet Sauvignon opened in the glass to reveal black berries, wild berries and blackcurrant. Not a complex wine, but very easy and pleasant to drink. CS described the Pinot Noir, thus: Incredible flavors of black cherry and strawberry with buttery overtones. While neither of the two wines proved to be an ideal pairing, they nevertheless nicely complemented this feast.

Although we didn’t get to taste it, it was already late and we both bursting from all the food, CS could not resist photographing the first ever kosher caviar ever served at a restaurant…

All in all a meal we will long remember!

SYR

22
Aug
11

Chef Haim Dadi – The Dream Concrete


Since he was very young, Haim Dadi knew what he wanted to do. His parents had a restaurant in Israel and whenever he visited their place – as a child – he loved the hustle and bustle, the aromas, the sounds of the patrons.  He is currently Chef/Partner of 18 Restaurant on 81st Street and 2nd Avenue. I’ve watched and followed him through every area of his restaurant and – as amiable as he is outside the cooking area – it is in the kitchen that he truly comes alive as he cooks, as he talks to his staff, as he experiments with more delicious ways of preparing his fare.

I spoke to Chef Haim recently to find out what makes him tick, what it is that spurs him on. Twenty five years ago he opened his first restaurant in Beersheva with his brother, serving mostly shawarma and a few other grilled items. Three years later, he arrived in New York and opened his first venture in Forest Hills – Tel Aviv Haktanah, though very successful he did not get along with his partner.

He left for a place in Manhattan called Shelanu, which eventually evolved into Mr. Broadway. It started out with a limited Israeli menu, yet considering the demographics in and around its location, it did not work too well. Over a period of seven years they slowly introduced various new types: deli, Chinese, shawarma and sushi. With the addition of all those cuisines Mr. Broadway, soon had one of the largest menus in Manhattan. With very moderate prices and the rich selection they expanded over the years and became a very successful venture, a fixture of the New York kosher Scene.

About a year ago, Chef Dadi was ready for bigger challenges. Together with Sidney Cohen he opened up 18 Restaurant on the premises of what used to be the high end Turquoise. In spite of the high quality of its servings, Turquoise had become a victim of the new recession.

Walking into 18, with its turquoise wall and aquarium, opposite an antiqued stone wall and red fixtures, gives the impression of an upscale expensive place. A quick look, however, at the menu immediately dispels the notion of “expensive.” The food served here is of higher quality than at his former place and in the year since they’ve opened they managed to gather a faithful following that fills the restaurant every day at lunch and dinner. The sushi is superb, and coming from someone who never touched fish until two years ago, someone who never thought he’d ever taste sushi, you can take it as very high praise indeed. I can never resist ordering Chef Haim’s Yemenite Meat Soup, or his juicy hamburgers. He doesn’t serve exotic dishes, instead he specializes in a wholesome array including Eastern European, Mediterranean, sushi and deli selections. He envisions 18 as a purveyor of high quality food at reasonable prices and… the concept works!

As a young child, Haim Dadi had a dream; as a man, he’s made the dream concrete!

CS

25
Jul
11

This Week’s Events…


The $32.00 Prix Fixe Special Menu at 18 Restaurant continues:

240 East 81st Street, New York - (212) 517-2400

THE KOSHER SCENE SPECIAL DINNER PRIX FIXE MENU

$32.00 per person, tax and gratuities not included. All wine, beer and alcohol billed separately.
Any item ordered, not on the Prefix will be billed separately

May not be used in conjunction with ANY other special

APPETIZER

Combination Platters:

Humus, Babaganuosh, Turkish Salad, Tahini

Mixed Green Salads

Assorted Breads

ENTREE

Eighteen Mixed Grill Kebob Special Combo Platter:

Chicken

Beef

Side Dishes: Choice of 2

grilled vegetables

french fries

mashed potatoes

basmati rice

DESSERT

Coffee/tea

Assorted Rugelach or Slice of Cake

Cold beverage (non alcohol) included

The food’s delicious, the price is very reasonable, the portions are generous, the ambiance is elegantly casual, a perfect eatery to take your wife, your date or the family. Go ahead, treat yourself! All of you deserve it. (For this Prix Fixe, please print out the following  .pdf)

18 Restaurant
240 East 81st. Street (map)
New York, NY
Telephone 212.517.2400
www.eighteenrestaurant.com

With the Nine Days fast approaching, tonight’s cooking demo by Lévana features:

Monday, July 25th

The meatless feast. Gluten-free

The nine days are almost upon us. Thank Goodness we hear less and less grumbling about being “limited” to meatless dining: Incidentally, this is the way we eat at home all week, so no hardship here, only delicious treats, with sizzling international flavors.

  • White gazpacho
  • Artichokes and carrots in lemon sauce
  • Mock crab cakes with red pepper coulis
  • Linguini with roasted cauliflower and bread crumbs topping
  • Green fruit salad
  • Pecan lace cookies.
Enjoy 18 Restaurant and Lévana’s Dinner and Show, gentle reader.
CS
17
Jul
11

Events of the Week


Just because it’s summer and Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhoods’ street are half empty doesn’t mean that New York has become a ghost town. Kosher events abound and our favorites for this coming week are:

Monday, July 18th at 7:00pm (Eastern Time)

Lévana’s Moroccan Feast Part 2: Salad Buffet

Please make certain to register to the demo, as the venue has moved to my apartment!

We grew up eating no end of salads at almost every meal: Is it any wonder we loved our veggies and ate them without any prompting? I am even including a dessert salad. True to form, we will bake an authentic Moroccan bread to go with the feast so we don’t leave a drop of sauce behind (this bread is the only item on the menu that will not be gluten-free).

I’ll be demonstrating:

  • Matbookha
  • Grated carrot salad
  • Roasted pepper salad
  • Spicy lettuce and chick pea salad with salmon
  • Tomato salad
  • Eggplant salad
  • Minted orange, endive and romaine salad
  • Moroccan Bread

Click Here to Register!

Registrations: A gentle reminder – Please register at least two days before any cooking class demo so A) We know for sure we have a demo going, and B) We have ample servings!

P.S. Throw in a C) – It makes my life easier :-) P.P.S. Throw in a D) I’ll give you a free signed copy of my new cookbook if you bring a new friend!

Also starting tomorrow you can take advantage of a great, reasonably priced menu at 18 Restaurant:

240 East 81st Street, New York - (212) 517-2400

THE KOSHER SCENE SPECIAL DINNER PRIX FIXE MENU

$32.00 per person, tax and gratuities not included. All wine, beer and alcohol billed separately.
Any item ordered, not on the Prefix will be billed separately

May not be used in conjunction with ANY other special

APPETIZER

Combination Platters:

Humus, Babaganuosh, Turkish Salad, Tahini

Mixed Green Salads

Assorted Breads

Photo by: seamlessweb.com

ENTREE

Eighteen Mixed Grill Kebob Special Combo Platter:

Chicken

Beef

Side Dishes: Choice of 2

grilled vegetables

french fries

mashed potatoes

basmati rice

DESSERT

Coffee/tea

Assorted Rugelach or Slice of Cake

Cold beverage (non alcohol) included

The food’s delicious, the price is very reasonable, the portions are generous, the ambiance is elegantly casual, a perfect eatery to take your wife, your date or the family. Go ahead, treat yourself! All of you deserve it. (For this Prix Fixe, please print out the following  .pdf)

18 Restaurant
240 East 81st. Street (map)
New York, NY
Telephone 212.517.2400
www.eighteenrestaurant.com

CS

07
Jul
11

The Kosher Scene’s Prix Fixe Special at 18 Restaurant


It’s summer and you don’t feel like cooking every evening, besides the kids are likely in camp and it’s just the two of you at home. Why not let someone else do the cooking and avoid the preparation time and the cleanup? Of course, you want reasonable prices, so… with the lazy days of summer in mind we bring you (starting on July 18th):

18 Restaurant

240 East 81st Street, New York - (212) 517-2400

THE KOSHER SCENE SPECIAL DINNER PREFIX MENU

$32.00 per person, tax and gratuities not included. All wine, beer and alcohol billed separately.
Any item not on the Prefix will be billed separately

May not be used in conjunction with ANY other special

APPETIZER

Combination Platters:

Humus, Babaganuosh, Turkish Salad, Tahini

Mixed Green Salads

Assorted Breads

Photo by: seamlessweb.com

ENTREE

Eighteen Mixed Grill Kebob Special Combo Platter:

Chicken

Beef

Side Dishes: Choice of 2

grilled vegetables

french fries

mashed potatoes

basmati rice

DESSERT

Coffee/tea

Assorted Rugelach or Slice of Cake

Cold beverage (non alcohol) included

The food’s delicious, the price is very reasonable, the portions are generous, the ambiance is elegantly casual, a perfect eatery to take your wife, your date or the family. Go ahead, treat yourself! All of you deserve it. (For this Pris Fixe, please print out the following  .pdf)

18 Restaurant
240 East 81st. Street (map)
New York, NY
Telephone 212.517.2400
www.eighteenrestaurant.com

CS

17
Jun
11

Live from Nargila! – Part 2


This past Wednesday, The Kosher Scene Radio Show did a live broadcast from Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700).

From left to right: Esti Berkowitz (Primetime Parenting), Alessandra Rovati (Dinner in Venice), Marlene Mamiye (The Kosher Hostess), Yours Truly, at the controls (The Kosher Scene), Kim Amzallag (Mishpacha/Kosher Inspired Magazine); Suzannah Raff (The Kosher Shopaholic), not pictured - as she spoke to us on the phone - Amy Channa (The Gluten Free Maven) PHOTO BY: Irving Schild

Nargila Grill is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean type restaurant, the decor authentic Middle Eastern, with softly piped in music to match.

Getting ready to order. PHOTO BY: Irving Schild

After the show we all enjoyed an incredibly delicious meal consisting of assorted Mediterranean salads, beef, lamb, and chicken kabobs. Each type of meat was done in a variety of styles and came on multiple skewers, each more succulent than the other!)

We are going back next Wednesday, to do another live show and to enjoy the owner’s mother’s Bukharian cooking. She comes in once a month to prepare some real delicacies. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Why don’t you join us at: Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700), next Wednesday evening? We’d love to meet you and we know you’ll love the food! We’ll leave the light on for ya. May we have the pleasure of seeing you there?

CS

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

08
Mar
11

Cafe Renaissance


Last week RN and I had an early dinner at Cafe Renaissance (802 Kings Highway, NY 11223-2240; Tel: 718.382.1900). We were prepared for a sumptuous, scrumptious meal but even so we were pleasantly surprised.

RN opted to begin her early dinner with Sauteed Artichoke in a very aromatic lemon-garlic sauce. Delectable, she said.

I started with a colorful Green Dragon Sushi Roll, it consisted of spicy salmon, cucumber, avocado, topped with spicy mayonnaise and crunch…

Green Dragon Roll

We both found it succulent; the spicy salmon gave it just enough of a bite, a great meal starter!

Next I had a Citrus Salad

Citrus Salad

It came with Romain lettuce, baby greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and pomelo strips. The blend of flavors of fresh fruit and vegetables combined to form a perfectly harmonious symphony of wholesome flavors.

RN opted for the Healthy Salad, with low glyceride pasta, sauteed spinach, broccoli, olive oil, garlic topped with Parmesan cheese.  She described it as perfectly cooked pasta, with a superb cheese topping.

We then shared a Greek Salad with feta cheese, olives and more. Again, like the earlier salads, this one did not disappoint.

Starting the mains, we shared a very tender St. Peter’s Fish…

St Peter's Fish

It came accompanied with red, yellow, and green peppers with a flower carved lemon. It was juicy, tender and neither tasted nor smelled fishy. Quite good!

We segued the above dish with a Grilled Salmon for RN and a Salmon Teriyake for me. Both were delicious and while the list so far should have been enough to satisfy the most ravenous creature, we were not done yet…

We finished the meal by sharing a Four Seasons Pizza

Four Seasons Pizza

Its eight slices infour sections consisted of Vodka & Cheese (my favorite!!), Mushroom, Roasted garlic and Cheese, Tomato Sauce, Black Olives and Pesto over Cheese, and Roasted Tomatoes, Broccoli and Cheese. As a pizza connoisseur, I am compelled to give this combination very high marks.

We washed the meal down with a Bartenura Pinot Grigio 2008. A well balanced dry white wine with tangy lemon/grapefruit aromas and flavors and a great aftertaste. All in all it was a very enjoyable meal, beautifully presented, but…

Considering the amount of dishes we consumed and pleasantly surprised as we were at the consistency of freshness, quality, and unsurpassed flavor I felt obligated to speak to Cafe Renaissance‘ owner, Shaul Ashkenazi. We wanted to know about his background and how he developed the successful philosophy behind this eatery.

Shaul started out in the business under his father, 40 years ago; the father owned and operated a very popular restaurant on Tel Aviv’s Rechov Sheinkin. Among the restaurants habitués were many prominent politicians (including Golda Meir) and financial bigwigs who often concluded many a political or financial deal at the restaurant’s tables. Later, in 1975, Mr. Ashkenazi opened up his own place in Ramat Gan (Gute Gute), next to the Stock and the Diamond Exchanges.

Eventually, after the death of his father, since all his siblings were already in the US, he too emigrated to these shores. Ten years ago he opened Cafe Renaissance, he sought only quality fresh ingredients and required each Chef do things his way. While most Executive Chefs get to decide on the menu, here only Shaul and his wife Tikvah make those decisions. Any item on the menu gets rigorously tested by the couple and honed to perfection before it is ever served to any restaurant patron.

Shaul’s son-in-law Ronnie manages the Ashkenazis second venture Cafe Venezia (1391 Coney Island Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11230; Tel: 718.258.5400). We’ll just have to try it!

CS

Cafe Renaissance 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




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