Archive for the 'kosher fine dining in Manhattan' Category

19
Nov
12

Prime at the Bentley Hotel


Last Thursday Meyer Harroch (newyorkjewishguide.com) and I, went to the brand new Prime at the Bentley (500 East 62nd Street, New York 10065, 21st Floor – Tel: 212.933.9733).

Upstairs, downstairs (partial views)

The view of the East River, Queensboro Bridge and skyline is truly breathtaking! But… as amazing as the view is, the main reason one goes to a restaurant is the food. Having heard conflicting reports about the first few weeks, yet having been many a time to Prime Hospitality’s other superb venues I was not sure what to expect. Were the naysayers right? Were they spoiled brats? Was this new restaurant experiencing painful birth pangs as it first opened its doors?

Meyer started the meal with House Made Italian Sausage in a Blanket

Italian Sausage in a Blanket

I went for their Ocean Parfait sashimi combination served in a martini glass. Taste and presentation were great; a nice beginning, but what lay ahead?

While Meyer segued with a large Bentley Burger, I went for their Organic Irish Salmon

Organic Salmon

Tender, juicy and flavorful, perfect on all counts! The French fries that came with the burger were spiced just right!

Next we had Kobe Beef Sliders and Long Island Duck Sliders, cooked to perfections (at least to my taste – medium well), spiced just right and very juicy.

We followed with Steak and Frittes and a Flatiron Steak…

Steak and Frittes

With Chef David Kolotkin at its helm it’s no wonder Prime Grill has become the kosher steakhouse par excellence; Prime at the Bentley has inherited the same art of succulence in steaks. For side dishes we had Haricot Vert with Sundried Tomatoes…

Haricots Vert with Sundried Tomatoes

…and Kobacha Squash. This squash, a native of New Zealand, has a taste reminiscent of chestnuts with a hint of sweetness – perfect match for incredible steaks.

The service was good, whatever may have have caused complaints when it first opened, had obviously been remedied. Within an hour of opening for dinner, the restaurant had nary an empty seat, a fitting tribute to the upscale locale and the delicious food.

CS

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

06
Apr
12

Ladino Tapas Bar and Grill – Just Opened and Kosher for Passover


Located at 940 8th Avenue (between 56th and 55th Street) in the Columbus Circle area of Manhattan, Ladino is set to become a new jewel on the crown of New York City’s superb kosher restaurants.

Ladino opened its doors last week on Thursday, this past Tuesday evening I decided to try it out. As I walked in, I was immediately struck by its beautifully themed décor, that blended the modern with a traditional but upscale Mexican ambiance.

The very talented Alex Morales (a fellow Uruguayan), was finishing his reproductions of two Diego Rivera murals:

The unfinished Flower Vendor is on the left and El Vendedor de Alcatraces (Calla Lilies) is on the right. The décor was completed with antiqued, floral, copper ceiling tiles.

There is a nice modern themed bar at the back but, because Ladino opened ready for Pessach, it only offered wine (mevushal) selections, no beer, no liquor.

I came in as soon as they opened for dinner at 5:00pm, so as to make sure there would be few people to get in the way of my taking photos of the place, by the time I left at around 7:30pm it was starting to fill up.

Under the direction of Alexandre Petard (who was the extraordinary opening chef at the late, lamented, La Carne Grill) – who has a noteworthy record of having worked at some of New York’s most celebrated restaurants, such as Jean Georges, Lespinasse and Les HallesLadino offers a nice selection of Tapas (hot and cold), appetizers and main courses.

I started the evening with Guacamole and Yuka chips…

It was the best guacamole I’ve had in quite a while, very flavorful without extra spices that could detract from the delicate taste. I went on to try samplings of the Ceviche de Atun (Tuna), Ceviche de Salmon, and Ceviche de Red Snapper. None of them showed any fishiness in either flavor or odor, I liked all three. Obviously they were very fresh!

I washed it all down with a Binyamina Chardonnay 2011. It was a medium bodied, fresh, fruity, aromatic wine with notes of pear, melon and citrus peel. Light gold with a slight greenish tint in color, though not my favorite choice (perhaps because of its youth) it actually matched the ceviches quite well.

I segued with Pincho Moreno, a set of chicken and beef skewers hot Tapas dish. It normally comes with a house mayonnaise (made to perfection by the French chef!), but I requested a bit of guacamole as well.

While the mayonnaise was my favorite, the guacamole provided an interesting taste variation to the very tender, very juicy, very flavorful poultry and beef skewers. Beautiful to the eye, as you can see above.

My favorite of the evening, since I am a carnivore to the core, was the Steak a la Cazuela

Nicely presented in a cast iron pan seating on a trivet, the steak pieces were surrounded and topped with mixed peppers, onion, mushrooms and guacamole. The aroma was captivating, the juiciness and flavor conjured up the tastiest steaks I’ve tasted in my youth in Uruguay. With the vegetables having absorbed some of the meat juices, the totality of this dish worked like a carefully orchestrated symphony under the baton of one of the world’s great conductors. I washed down these two meat dishes with a glass of red wine consisting of a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petite syrah. I did not get the name nor the vintage but it was very fruity in its aroma, with strong citrus notes, not so perfectly balanced tannins (again, a young wine), with hints of purple plum and a mild tobacco with a long finish. Interestingly, it paired superbly well with the steak.

I crowned the evening with a very nice, parve, mango ice cream (complements of Chef Alexandre… It pays to be among the first customers at a new restaurant!). It was hard to believe it contained no milk, but the ability to substitute is part and parcel of a real French chef’s magic.

A perfect place to go out to during chol hamo’ed. As for me, I expect to return after Pessach to see what the regular menu, with far fewer limitations, will be like.

Meanwhile…

Chag kasher vesame’ach!

CS

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

13
Apr
11

This Evening’s Two Hour Internet Radio Show And a Recipe…


Last Wednesday’s live broadcast from Gotham Wines and Liquors‘ 8th Annual Wine Extravaganza, held at the West End Institutional Synagogue. We had some great guests on that show and made new friends. Unfortunately the .mp3 file got trashed, so we never got a chance to hear it the actual broadcast. Tonight’s show will focus on wine and food. Our guests will be several kosher winery spokesmen and distributors, then at the last half hour we will talk to Chef Jeff Nathan, Chef/owner of Abigael’s on Broadway.

We will discuss the reasons for the 4 cups of wine and other Pessach customs, we will hear about their selections from the various wineries, while Chef Jeff will explain the whole concept of the New Jewish Cuisine, which he made into a wildly successful series on Public Television. We will also talk about his journey to become a successful restaurateur and what Abigael’s is planning for Passover.

Please listen in to The Kosher Scene’s Show, this evening at 6:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern Time,

The first cookbook Jeff Nathan published – in 2002 –  Adventures in Jewish Cooking, included some great recipes that can be made on Passover. Here is one I intend to savor on the last day of Pessach, when I finally do eat gebroks. It will go perfectly with a glass of  Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Veal Chops Milanese with Tomato Salad and Arugula

In Milan, you’ll find golden-crusted veal chops so big they fill your plate. Before being cooked, they are pounded while still on the bone. This creates wide flaps of meat to allow for more crispy coating that everyone loves. A combination of matzo flour, matzo meal, and matzo farfel is my secret to creating a crunchier crust than is possible with bread crumbs alone. Using matzo also opens up the possibility of enjoying this dish right through Passover week. You will need a very large, 12-14 inch skillet to cook both chops at once. Of course, if you have two such skillets, you can invite a couple of friends over for dinner, doubling the amount of tomato salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Two twelve ounce bone-in veal chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup matzo flour (also called matzo cake flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup matzo farfel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
  • 6 ounces arugula, washed and dried, torn bite-sized pieces.
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. To make the tomato salad, whisk the lemon juice and oil in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and rosemary and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, while preparing the veal.
  3. Place the chops between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using a heavy mallet or rolling pin, pound the meaty part of each chop until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, to create chops with a thinner flasp of meat attached to the rib bone. (In Milanese restaurants, the veal is pounded even thinner and wider, but at home, practicality demands that you pound the veal to a size that will allow two chops to fit into the skillet.) Season the chops with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the matzo flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a second shallow dish and the matzo farfel in a third shallow dish, Coat each veal chop with matzoh flour, then the egg wash, and then the matzoh meal.
  5. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and cook, turning one, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place the browned chops on a large baking sheet. Bake until they feel firm when pressed in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add the arugula to the tomato salad and mix. For each serving place a chop on a dinner plate and heap the tomato salad on top. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Just like his other book (which we reviewed) and has become one of my favorites, this one is also chuck full of mouth watering recipes which I can’t wait to try.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

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




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