Archive for the 'kosher restaurants in New Jersey' Category

23
Dec
12

Nobo Wine & Grill


Teaneck’s Nobo Wine & Grill (1400 Palisade Avenue; Teaneck, NJ 07666, Telephone: 201.837.1000), never ceases to amaze and delight. Under the direction of Executive Chef Josh Massin (formerly of Manhattan’s Mike’s Bistro), this restaurant which we reviewed before – with a different chef and a different name, though still under the same owners – redefines the meaning of “succulent.” This past Tuesday, the incomparable Lévana, treated SYR and I to this eatery.

We started our culinary adventure by sharing three appetizers: Big Eye Tuna Nicoise

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Big Eye Tuna Nicoise - Olive oil poach tuna, with assorted olives, capers, hard-boiled egg, frisee, cinfit campari tomatoes, raw honey emulsion, fried bread & red wine vinegar syrup.

Big Eye Tuna Nicoise – Olive oil poach tuna, with assorted olives, capers, hard-boiled egg, frisee, cinfit campari tomatoes, raw honey emulsion, fried bread & red wine vinegar syrup.

Traditional Cassoulet

Traditional Cassoulet - Bean stew with duck confit, veal sausage, veal bacon & roasted bone marrow on the side.

Traditional Cassoulet – Bean stew with duck confit, veal sausage, veal bacon & roasted bone marrow on the side.

…and Wild Mushroom Risotto. The tuna in syrup, tasted heavenly with a subtle citrusy flavor and sides that perfectly complemented it; the cassoulet was quite reminiscent of a fine cholent, in fact Chef Josh told us that cholent (or chaud lent) was most likely based on this French delicacy. The marrow bone was – for me – a superb touch, after all as a kid I used to fight my dad for these bones. After all these years, after all the changes in palette, nothing compares to a great marrow bone. Hmm, hmm!  The risotto came with parsley puree, salamesian and white truffle oil, strongly flavored and delicious!

We then proceeded to share three mains: Boneless Braised BBQ Short Ribs

Boneless Braised BBQ short Ribs - with roasted garlic & rutabaga mash, smoky cannellini beans, leek sauce, maple syrup infused barbeque sauce.

Boneless Braised BBQ short Ribs – with roasted garlic & rutabaga mash, smoky cannellini beans, leek sauce, maple syrup infused barbeque sauce.

The short ribs, and sides, brought in a beautiful tapestry of perfectly balanced flavors and tender, juicy meat!

We then proceeded with a Crispy Skin Poached Dark Skin Meat Chicken, it consisted of smoky white wine, braised savoy cabbage, local Rusian fingerling potatoes, chicken sausage dumplings, braised leeks, red pepper aioli and garlic crouton. Incredibly flavorful with an orangey taste, and very juicy. We loved it!

But the pièce de résistance was the Butcher’s Cut Steak, not on the regular menu and not always available, it was recommended by the Chef. Cooked sous vide* it came with sauteed haricot vert and Yukon Gold potatoes. It came medium rare, it was superbly tasty, soft like butter and very juicy.

We washed it all down with Segal Merlot 2011, it was adequate without being overpowering

For dessert, in a tremendous display of self restraint, we shared a single Peanut Butter Chocolate torte, with a Lace Cookie and a Cinnamon Ice Cream. Ahhh, a perfect cap to a perfect meal!

A perfect ending!

Just the right ending!

With a very attentive, unassuming Chef, great food, superb company and just the right ambiance… who can ask for more?

CS

*Sous Vide – From the French “under vacuum.” The ingredients are slowly cooked (for as long as 72 hours) in a water bath – while sealed in airtight plastic – as a result the natural juices and flavors stayed undiluted with whatever ingredient is so cooked. The reason for this method of cooking is to cook the item evenly, without overcooking the outside as the inside gets the same amount of donenness, with all around juicier results. Meat, using this method is cooked between 131F. to 140F. Vegetables need a higher temperature.

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

02
Jul
10

Royal Persian Grill


Efraim Azari, owner of Royal Persian Grill (192 West Englewood Avenue; Teaneck, NJ 07666; Telephone: 201-833-1555) has an inspiring personal story which explains his evolution into the kosher restaurant business.

Originally from Teheran, Efraim emigrated to Israel with his family, when he was just a child of 4. He grew up in a Tel Hashomer kibbutz. as left wing as it gets. Raised on  ideology which stipulates that religious people were untrustworthy,  superstitious and downright foolish, he focused his energies on an enlightened worldly consciousness, athletic healthy body, excelling in karate and other martial arts.

Thirteen years ago, Efraim emigrated to Miami, with his wife and youngest son, where he built a large successful business. One day, his son informed his parents of his decision to become a ba’al tshuvah. Efraim and his wife were devastated, wondering where they had failed their child; no amount of dissuasion sufficed, he couldn’t be talked out of this folly! Shortly thereafter, another stroke of bad luck befell the Azaris; Efraim severely injured his right shoulder blade. The tear required complicated surgery, the pain was unbearable, and the operation failed. A wounded, tired, exasperated Efraim traveled the world in search of a top surgeon that specialized in his injury… He found one, and scheduled a second  operation, with the hoped that this time it would be successful. His nights were sleepless, excruciatingly painful, filled with channel surfing, Arak and other potables to numb the unceasing pain.

A few short weeks prior to the operation, Efraim’s son – now married and an avreich in a Monsey kollel – invited his parents for a visit. Though his core beliefs and lifestyle hadn’t changed one iota, Efraim couldn’t help but be impressed by the size and scope of the bet knesset and Yeshivat Or Yisrael. Before leaving, his son told Efraim that the Rosh Kollel wanted to give him a bracha (blessing). Little did he know his life was about to change… for ever…

“I hear you tore your shoulder blade,” the Rabbi said. “Yes,” Efraim answered. “And your first operation was a disaster.” “Yes,” Efraim answered. “And you’ve already scheduled a second operation.” “Yes,” Efraim answered. “I have the perfect doctor for you!” said the Rabbi. “With all due respect to the Rabbi I already have a top doctor,” Efraim answered. “You don’t understand, I can recommend THE top doctor to you.” “Please Rabbi, I already scheduled my operation!” “You don’t understand, I can recommend the best specialist for you,” repeated the Rosh Kollel. Again, at the urging of his wife, Efraim acquiesced and let the Rabbi continue. “Give me two hours a day of deep study, learn and thoroughly follow this book – which I’ll give you – on the Laws of Shabbat. Follow it thoroughly, do not pick and choose what’s convenient, or sensible, just follow it thoroughly or don’t waste your time warming a chair here. If you follow everything, the Doctor will cure you.” Reluctantly and again at his wife’s urging, Efraim committed himself to this. That very night, for the first time in almost a year, Efraim slept right, soundly; no pain, no needles, no shocks!

Refreshed, the next morning, he showed up at the Yeshiva, fascinated with the new teachings – revealing a heretofore unknown, undreamed of, world and a new purpose in life. Again that night he slept well, the pain had inexplicably eased up. After a week of refreshing sleep and productive learning, Efraim began to achieve some mobility in his injured arm and shoulder; soon all pain disappeared, full mobility and the use of his arm and shoulder returned. All without surgery… Believe it or not! The Doctor had done his job!!! “I’m a stubborn man,” Efraim says, “I don’t like change, but who can argue with obvious miracles when I experienced the healing in my own flesh?” I truly understood the meaning of Ani Hashem rofecha! – I am the Lord, your Doctor!” And so, the enlightened athlete who stumbled upon the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Monsey, stayed and learned. Four years ago, still dedicating several hours a day to his learning, he opened the Royal Persian Grill.

Royal Persian Grill

What makes the Persian cuisine different from Middle Eastern cooking? At the Royal Persian Grill they use a twenty five herb combo mix, a lot of parsley, cilantro, mind lemon and garlic, not hot spicy like some Israeli dishes, rather more sweet and sour. Rice accompanies many of the selections and is cooked differently than the usual western way. It’s cooked half way, then it gets washed in cold water, finally, it’s steamed. Thus, the kernels stay separated and retain their shape gleam and taste. We sampled one of their very popular Persian dishes. Ghorme Sabzi- a thick beef stew- a Persian cholent – if you will – with rice, red beans and meat. It was earthy and filling. The second Persian favorite was Beef Bamya, a sweet and sour beef stew with okra. It wasn’t ready when we were there and we hope to sample it next time.

We started the meal with their Appetizer Salad Combo.

Appetizer Salad Combo with matbucha, hummus, Romanian eggplant, babaganoush and pikanti eggplant.

We enjoyed this dish with toasted pita covered with oil and zaatar (hyssop). All the salads, like the rest of the of the fare, are freshly made at the restaurant. This salad combo plate tasted very good!

Next, we ordered a very adequate Yemenite Meat Soup. We continued with a delicately seasoned Grilled Chicken Breast

Grilled Chicken Breast w/fries and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes

Cooked just right, it was tender and juicy, as we sipped a refreshing iced lemon/mint tea.

We finished the meal with a superb Halva Ice Cream

Halva Ice Cream. Amaaazing!

…and an excellent Baklavah. Yehudis, our waitress, made our meal an absolute delight with her friendly solicitousness. We know we’ll be back!

CS

Royal on Urbanspoon




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