Archive for the 'Kosher Scene' Category

10
Aug
11

Tonight’s Radio Show – Alessandra Rovati From Dinner In Venice


Last minute cancellation due to unforeseen emergency!

Last minute cancellation due to unforeseen emergency!

Photo by: Irving Schild

Italian cuisine has earned a very well deserved place in the pantheon of superior cookery from around the world. Within that cuisine, it is the Cucina Ebraica, the Jewish Italian cuisine, which is considered its crown jewel. Our guest on The Kosher Scene Radio Show, this evening, will be Venetian born and bred Alessandra Rovati from  Dinner In Venice.com website and blog.  We will discuss the history of the Jews in Italy, a history that goes back almost 2200 years, the history of Jews in Venice specifically and, of course, the famed Jewish Italian cuisine.

Venice is where the first Jewish Ghetto came to be in 1500. The earliest known mention of Jews in Venice is around 1090. The census in 1152 showed 1300 of our coreligionists, mostly merchants, originally from Germany and  the Levant. Throughout its history, Venice has been the venue for some of the most picturesque chapters in our people’s history, featuring both famous and infamous Jewish personalities.

Please tune us in this evening on the internet’s blogtalkradio.com, at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time), for what promises to be a very interesting, and informative show.

If you missed our show last week with Ezzy Duchman from Jewpon, you can hear it here. The guest was interesting, the subject will save you money!

Please, don’t forget to tune us in this evening’s for our conversation with the charming, Alassandra Rovati, when we will explore the  history and the cuisine of Jewish Italy at 8:00pm (Eastern Time). We’ll be wait’n for ya…

CS

***UPDATE***

7:25 pm (Eastern Time) Ms. Rovati had a small electrical fire in her house and had to cancel this evening’s appearance.

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

01
Jun
11

Internet Radio Show Tonight


Thanks to Sidney and Tammy Cohen  we did an incredible one hour show last week, live from 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400). Our guests lineup included: Gil Marks – author of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum – who spoke of her brand new cook book. Kim Amzallag from Kosher Inspired Magazine, Esti Berkowitz from the Prime Time Parenting blog and, of course, the incomparable Tammy Cohen . The food was great, the atmosphere just perfect and the place was packed.  We all loved it!

This evening, at 7:30 pm (Eastern Time), we will broadcasting again. You can listen to our show at BlogTalkRadio/kosherscene. We will start with a reading of a very short piece I wrote a few years back (which was reprinted on The Jerusalem Post and on Ynet.com) it’s about the first Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem. I was there when the Old City – Ir Hatika became ours again…

Then we’ll turn the conversation to Shavuos and dairy food with Brigitte Mizrahi and Moshe Vogel from Anderson International Foods (who manufacture the cholov Yisroel line of cheeses Natural & Kosher, and the non-cholov Yisroel brands Les Petites Fermieres and Organic and Kosher. We will follow with Kim Amzallag (whom I prerecorded yesterday afternoon), who will talk to us about the new Shavuos issue of Kosher Inspired and much more.

A tiny selection of Anderson International Foods' cheese offerings

Please tune us in this evening from 7:30pm t0 8:30pm, at: BlogTalkRadio/kosherscene. We have a very interesting program, geared to Shavuos (which is next week, starting Tuesday eve and continuing through Thursday night, the evening of the 7th through the 9th of June). We’ll be waiting for you!

CS

27
Feb
11

Lipa @ pomegranate


It may not have been a theatre stage, but it was riveting nevertheless.

Feet suddenly acquired a mind of their own, they wouldn’t stop dancing to the live sounds of Lipa singing sets from his latest CD, 24/6 LipaLipa chose Pomegranate Supermarket to launch this CD at a free concert. Why? Because this was the best place to reach the Brooklyn oilom on short notice. The supermarket’s clientele flocks to it because it is interested in its unique offerings and that is precisely the demographics that Lipa wants to reach.

Kulam ahuvim, kulam brurim, kulam giborim, kulam kedoshim...

Uveeni Malkeinee

It was hard not to feel the emotions, it was hard not to sing along, it was hard no to dance, it was hard not to follow the crowd. The audience was electrified and, as if obeying a higher command, really got into the spirit of the music. With the exception of three techno sets, Lipa sang the rest of the songs on this  new CD. Like most of the audience I too was captivated and got into the frenzy.

If you are among the counted few who do not know Lipa, suffice it to say that he’s produced 10 very successful CDs, so far; he’s been in thousands of shows, he’s worked with the greatest entertainment legends in the world of Jewish music and he’s traveled around the globe being mesame’ach countless Jewish hearts.

I actually got to talk to him after the show and found him unassuming, humble and grateful to his audience. He hasn’t allowed his fame to go his head, that is precisely the main reason (besides his tremendous showmanship!) that makes him so popular.

CS

05
Jul
10

Saddle-up for Some Fine Fixins’ at Smokey Joe’s!


You don’t have to be a Texas long-horn to enjoy this round-up of superbly smoked and southern rustic Tex Mex cuisine at Smokey Joe’s (494 Cedar Lane; Teaneck, NJ. 07666; Telephone: 201.836.7427).  Décor is sun-burnt orange against ranch-rawhide woodsy panels; Marlboro manly man and stallion photos adorning the walls. Brown butcher block paper covers tables set with colorful southwestern china (don’t forget to ask Joe for doodling crayons).

A partial view of the dining area

Joe, the owner, looked for a unique niche in the market and not only found one, but honed it like an art form till it yielded a product that fills the house on a regular basis. Joe, or Yossi to his chevra, told us “Food is life; food is kodesh.” “It’s about craft and high quality. You’ve got to give it the time and attention it takes to develop.” And indeed Joe has done so. His 74” smoker (which he lovingly dubbed Dimona-2) is the nucleus of his operation, but just as important is his approach to food and business. “You’re not producing a widget or stereo; my personal commitment to making great food is a life-time journey!” “It’s also about having a good sense of hospitality when Jews come calling at your restaurant. It’s a little different than the hachnassas orchim (welcoming guests) we do at home.” Joe certainly shared that hospitality with us.

...it was hard to keep myself from reaching into that smoker... I confess...

Joe served up vittles Stephen J. Austin or Sam Houston would raise armies to fight for! The table started to fill up with outstanding home made cornbread with onion jam spread (you got to taste ‘em together to understand how awesome those flavors are together), refreshing iced tea and fresh squeezed lemon-ade and home made. Still warm tortilla chip (seriously, dangerously, addictive!) with freshly made guacamole for starters.

We were then treated to an assortment of Smokey Joe’s favorites. The Joe Dawg, the lamb merguez sausages, were marvelous; superbly smoked and flavored.

Lamb Merguez Joe Dawg

They’ve got six types to choose from, it wasn’t easy deciding which to try…

We then demolished their Beef Brisket (well… really… CS did, he kindly let me have one forkful before it was gone!) – smoked for up to 14 hours. The smoked taste did not overpower the brisket taste which was rich, marvelous. In a very uncharacteristic (well you saw the pictures of those ribs, how can you blame me?) uninhibited Flinstonian way, I dug into their long ribs which had been basted in a secret BBQ rub and smoked for around 5 hours in Dimona-2. (Surely, not first date action, unless you want to provide an instant inhibitions dissolver, right from the get-go) They were meaty, packed with flavor and delicious. I literally felt the spices coming through my pores. Quite unexpectedly, my favorite smoked entrée was the chicken.

Brisket, Grilled Chicken and Sweet Potato... mmm, mmm!

I just loved the way the subtle smokey flavor worked its way into the soft flesh of the chicken resulting in a fabulous taste. We had no room for their burgers and chocolate mole sauce, which we heard are outstanding. We’ll have to come back and try those as well as some of their other popular dishes.

A great homey place to come with family and friends to chill an’ enjoy southern smokin’ Jewish hospitality.

SYR

Smokey Joe's on Urbanspoon

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

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

03
Jun
10

Basil – Pizza & Wine Bar


At the edge of Crown Height’s Jewish neighborhood, we walked through the tall glass paned doors of Basil Pizza and Wine Bar (270 Kingston Ave; Brooklyn, NY 11213; Telephone: 718.285.8777). We were greeted by the lovely homey smells coming from their large wood oven, clearly center staged by design, partnered with an open bar and cooking area. Soft relaxing Latin music permeated a high vaulted room adorned with 13 honey jar shaped glass lanterns hanging at variegated heights back-dropped by a glass fronted honey comb wine casement.  Marble top tables and dark rustic wooden chairs filled the room commodiously, seating 45 comfortably.

Partial view of Basil. Clara Perez, the Manager, taking a breather in one of those rare low traffic moments.

The pizza and wine bar opened its doors in late February of this year. Just a few months in, with an extensive gourmet dairy menu created by his predecessor, Chef Adam  (who started his culinary training in Italy’s Costa D’Amalfi – then the restaurant’s sous-chef – was suddenly asked to take the helm as chef de cuisine.  Like the young Luciano Pavoratti in February 1965 – who was asked to replace the regular tenor – in an evening’s fateful  performance (Donizzetti’s Lucia de Lamermoor) at the Greater Miami Opera, young Chef Adam stepped up to the plate prevailing successfully without missing a single high note apparently, for he served up dish after dish of consistently delicious Basil favorites.

We began this, our latest restaurant adventure, with their Wild Mushroom Pizza made with Goat Cheese, Mozzarella and Truffle Oil, we took a side dish of their signature Basil Fries, sprinkled with Fresh Parmesan aside a  Garlic-Truffle Mayo Dip- clearly – not for the faint hearted.  Both were delicious.  The thin crusted pizza dough (made with imported Italian flour) was terrific, as were the wild mushrooms and goat cheese topping. CS predictably downed a respectable number of fries, loving the crispy strips dipped in truffle mayo. We both opted for Tishbi’s Chenin Blanc to accompany our meal. It was perfect for the table fare and the balmy summer afternoon. I had a respectable Arugula and Beets Salad topped with medallions of warm goat cheese sprinkled with pine nuts and a truffle vinaigrette.

CS, gnocchi Gnostic that he is, couldn’t help but devour the Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin rich with Tomatoes, Spinach and Parmesan Bread Crumbs. He found it flavorful, authentic Italian Campagna, done to perfection! We sampled three more mains; spinach ricotta dumplings, striped bass, and a saffron risotto.  I went for their Striped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream. Presentation was outstanding as you can see from the pictures below (we had a very, very tough time settling on only three photos of the dishes!).  The charred fennel was set like a sail atop a perfectly cooked striped bass a sea in a gustable green pea risotto. The Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Melted Mozzarella were ambrosial- especially with the enfolded Tomatoes  Roasted for 24 hours in Balsamic Vinegar, fennel seeds and just the right touch of chili flakes. Basil buys mozzarella curd and stretches it on location, enhancing the flavor that much more.  The Saffron Risotto with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, was quite aromatic. The forest mushrooms and white asparagus were savory & toothsome, though at this point we were quite full.

Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin

Stiped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream

Saffron Risotto, with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

We’ll have to come back and meet their pastry chef, Ehud Ezra; word on the street is that he is an amazing talent.  A graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education, he trained at Oceana in Manhattan and was Pastry Chef for several years at Whole Foods (among other prestigious establishments), before coming to Basil, we tasted his Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cheese Cake served with Turkish Fig Puree and Melon. He’s there at 5:00 am preparing his croissants and other pastries, opening for breakfast service at 7:30 am. Chef Adam also treated us to a tasting of his home-made colorful Sorbet Trio and Basil Ice Cream (made from basil, you read it right!). Yummmm!

Sitting on the cusp of this Lubavitch neighborhood, Basil stands at the edge of new cuisine and ambiance territory.  The reluctant humble yet flight worthy fledgling chef and his team run a successful operation with the help of their warm friendly manager Clara Perez, whose respect and reverie for the Lubavitch community is admirable. The convergence of crossed cultures amongst their staff and the harmonious blend of clientele dining together with Basil’s good food its nucleus, is nothing short of chevlei mashiach amazing. The obstacles were many; it shouldn’t work but it does, remarkably so! Some places are just plain blessed that way.

SYR

Basil on Urbanspoon

18
May
10

What Gives a Food Critic the Right to Critique?


Granted, CS and I have a combined prandial gastronomic, collectivistic consumption spanning nearly a century (we make no admission of time exceeding that!). Coincidentally, we were both blessed with superbly critical, highly skilled, culinary genius in the kitchen – parents of Polish and Hungarian descent respectively. They tolerated nothing but brilliance and excellence from their gifted, savant, miraculous offspring of the Diaspora and post Nazi oblation – instilling in us not only superior minds and egos endowed by birth, as well as a natural hunger for all things good. Our generation was brought up with the assumption that somehow we were born with inalienable rights to judge and critique the handiwork of our peers but never our parents. Both of us share the uncanny experience of every patriarchal inquisition into our lives and all critical moments predicated with the always relevant questions: “What did they serve?”, or “What did you eat? Was it good?”

The locus of kosher restaurants we’ve marked collectively through the various stages of our lives is equally impressive. From family style restaurants, to fancy upscale dating restaurants, from cafés for momentary pondering or perusal to married dating eateries, circling back to family restaurants and some of us back to dating restaurants again… we’ve done them all! The Shabbos tables we’ve set and served along with the tables we’ve guested at – often with suffered grimaced smiles of approval conceding to our napkins the putrid memorial – or being imparadised by occasional sensational dishes provided by our hosts! The trials and tribulations of experimental dishes imposed on our loving families without dis-ownership or dis-membership is legendary.

...eating our words

CS has an impressive curriculum vitae – having written many a fine food and/or wine review for well known global publications. I, on the other hand, am more the ‘everyman’, learning through doing, acquiring new skill sets, cultivating and advancing my palate and knowledge as I go along. And now we both sit here… judging others with culinary degrees and years of mastery in the art of Kosher cooking. Yeah, maybe we’ve cultivated our palates enough to judge… certainly as well as the consumers whose attendance make or break a restaurant. Mostly, we are grateful, grateful for the abundance of excellent restaurant choices and fine cuisine that we have been privileged to find and sample. It’s competitive out there and to keep the edge, a fine dining restaurant has to be good. We want a great dining experience and customers want to feel that the money spent was well worth the investment. The mediocre don’t survive for long. There are some food reviews that we’ll never publish, nameless here forever more…

There are many great kosher restaurants yet to review and savor. We love sharing our experiences with you and hope you enjoy sharing with us here at The Kosher Scene. With z’man matan Torah upon us, we would like to wish all our readers a Chag Shavuot sameach! May this time of Torah and harvest bring cornucopian blessings of plenty into your homes and lives.

We’ve collected some great Yom Tov recipes here and here. Enjoy!

SYR




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