Archive for the 'Kosher Scene' Category



16
Dec
09

Chef’s Guest


This past Thursday, December 10th, I had the pleasure of being the exclusive guest of Chef David Kolotkin at Prime Grill. As I’ve mentioned in past postings,  this eatery is one of my favorite meat restaurants.

A partial view of Prime Grill

Chef David’s special menu did not disappoint. I started the meal with a House Cured Duck “Prosciutto” served with light frisee, dried fruit, almonds and a citrus soy reduction.

House Cured Duck "Prosciutto"

I found it delightful, subtly tart, with the individual flavors coming to the fore with each bite.

The House Potato Gnocchi with Duck Sauce followed next, served with tomato in a delicate herb sauce. It looked blissfully tasty and tasted even better. It left a very pleasant, unusual, aftertaste.

House Potato Gnocchi

The third course was  Southern Style Veal Sweetbreads & Grilled Tongue; which came with home-style grits, collard greens and a piquant horseradish coulis.

Southern Style Veal Sweetbreads & Grilled Tongue

The synchronicity of flavors was superb, but merely part of the buildup to the crescendo of the main dish, a 60 Day Dry Aged Reserve Steak. It was served with truffle scallion and whipped potato. Personally, I prefer my steak medium well done, but Chef David insisted I order it medium. He was right. It was tender, juicy and just perfect – in every sense of the word!

I sipped a very nice 2008 Teal Lake Shiraz throughout the four courses. When I first came the Chef asked me what I would like, I told him to surprise me. And he did, deliciously, scrumptuously so. The meal was fit for a very fortunate king or… this most fortuitous food critic.

CS

08
Dec
09

For Your Eyes and Palate Only!


On December 3rd, last Thursday, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce held a full day conference in the Wall Street area of Manhattan at 55 Broad Street. Many distinguished American and Israeli business leaders and professionals (in a variety of disciplines) were in attendance. Israel’s Minister for Infrastructure (Uzi Landau) was keynote speaker. The Governor of the Bank of Israel, Dr. Stanley Fischer, was among the many notable speakers and workshop moderators. Subjects ranged from Education to Health, to discussions of the many challenges the US and Israel face in the current global climate.

At 12:30pm there was a networking dairy lunch. Who would the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce use for a caterer, a caterer that could provide a delicious, nutritious feast  for the palate and the eyes? u café, of course!!

The photo doesn't give you a true idea of size... these cheese sandwiches were mouthwatering big!!!

Certainly there was plenty more to eat, look at the colors and textures…

Healthy, nourishing and beautiful to look at. Who can ask for more?

Salads were plentiful, all colors, for every taste…

Pasta!

And the fruit platters? Sheer artistry and super fresh!!!

I get hungry just looking at these kiwis

Two long tables filled with sandwiches, salads, soups, hot dishes and fruit platters… Ahhh, the presentation! Deeeelicious!! Catering in style!!!

CS

04
Dec
09

Solamente Solo


Solo, situated in the atrium of the SONY building (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800), is the brainchild of Joey Allaham creator and owner of the acclaimed Prime Grill. It is a high-end upscale restaurant featuring a fusion of exotic Mediterranean & Asian cuisine.

The dining room at Solo is the epitome of modern chic with its cool modular abalone-like mosaic panels & sand carved glass partitions, Mediterranean stuccoed walls, corkwood flooring, and bespeckled leather seating. It’s the perfect place for corporate pow wows, or when you want to impress.  I just loved the beautifully lit wall of gold olive oil bottles. Solo’s got an exclusive Club/VIP Room, and 3 private dining rooms available with plasma TV screens and controlled sound and lighting features with a seating capacity of up to 20. The VIP room connects to the kitchen allowing private dining with Chef Dan who incorporates Asian, French, and exotic Spanish influences in his exciting cooking style.

Now… to the food! It’s basics with a clean fresh twist. Presentation is elegant, artistic, bare yet precise, very Feng Shui balanced.

CS, the guy who says he doesn’t like fish, started with a Salmon appetizer while I ordered the Panko Crusted Veal Sweetbreads, with field greens, tomato, onion and citrus. Both were great choices. He followed it with a Solo USDA Prime Cowboy Steak which came with polenta fries, Chimichurri and green peppercorn sauce. I had the Beer & Plum Braised Beef Short Ribs (a feast for the palate AND the eyes) with turnip puree, sun dried tomato and pepper gastrique and crispy shallots. Both main selections were outstanding!

For dessert I took the very luscious looking, very aromatic, absolutely delicious Baked Pear with Strawberries in Raspberry Sauce while CS went for the the Caramelized Banana Tart which came with vanilla ice cream.

Our wine selection, a 2005 Benyamina The Cave was superlative and a more than fair complement to this superb meal. Eka, our waiter, was very friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. He did not stir us wrong! We loved everything, Both Chef Dan and the Pastry Chef outdid themselves, BUT we wish the portions were somewhat more generous.

SYR

Solo on Urbanspoon

02
Dec
09

Dining in Style


New York’s top kosher steakhouse is, without a doubt, Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; Telephone: 212.692.9292). But, do not take my word for it! Many well known actors, politicians, top business leaders, even those who need not worry about eating kosher, find their way to this eatery. In fact, as Executive Chef David Koloktin puts it, some of New York’s biggest business deals were hammered out during many a lunch at Prime Grill‘s tables.

Smoked Black Cod

On this occasion SYR had the Smoked Black Cod, for an appetizer. It was served with poached egg, toasted curry couscous cake, shiitake mushroom chips and champagne vinaigrette. I ordered their Classic Beef Tartar served over beef-carpaccio with citrus-caper vinaigrette, sun dried tomatoes & pistachio baked crustini. Superb selections, both!

Classic Beef Tartar

For the main dish I had a Delmonico with Peppercorn Sauce, Tobacco Onion Rings, mixed greens and a marrow bone. SYR had her favorite, the 14oz Ladies Cut with Yukon Gold Potatoes and we both shared the Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes. Again, the artistry (both in the presentation and the perfect, just right, flavors) of the kitchen staff under Chef David’s direction was astounding! But… I still plan to come back on a Thursday evening for the special on my personal favorite the Black Angus Beef.

Delmonico Steak

We washed it all down with a delightful 2006 Baron Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon. For dessert SYR ordered a Caramelized Banana Tart with Vanilla Cream and Bacardi Coconut Sorbet while I had the Warm Chocolate Cake consisting of Molten Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream. She had a coffee, while I sipped a slightly warmed up glass of Luis Royer Cognac XO (European Style!).

All in all a perfect dinner, but… you expect that at Prime Grill.

CS

Prime Grill on Urbanspoon

27
Nov
09

Special Events


Talia’s Steakhouse & Bar

668 Amsterdam Avenue (between 92nd & 93rd Streets); New York, NY 10025 – Phone: 212.580.3770

  • Talia’s Steakhouse and Chabad of the Westside of Manhattan, New York are hosting a Friday Night Shabbat Dinner tonight.
  • Talia’s LoungeHouse – Club 613 Featuring DJ STAR, spinning hits from around the world! This celebration will also kick off Talia’s newly added authentic Middle Eastern dishes that will supplement our Classic American Cuisine, brought by their seasoned Chef Victor Naim, bringing in over 20 years of experience. Indulge in beef, chicken, kofta kebabs, homemade hummus and Tahiti and the American burgers and wraps. Doors open at 9:30pm until 4:00am
  • -o-o-)OxO(-o-o-

    T Fusion Steakhouse

    3223 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234 — Phone 718.998.0002

  • Saturday NightSweet Tooth Night -
    Free after dinner snacks for every table.
  • Sunday NightAmuse Bouche Night -
    From oven toasted Bruschetta to bite size Mediterranean Beef Cigars.
  • Monday NightLive Jazz Night -
    Buy 1 cocktail and you get a second one at 50% off.
  • Tuesday NightCowboy Rodeo Deal -
    Only $22 for a 16 oz. Bone-in prime rib with Cowboy seasoning, normally sold at $34
  • Wednesday NightPasta Fiesta -
    Make your own pasta and sauce, and get a free plate of Garden Salad.
  • Thursday NightWine Night -
    Complimentary glass of house wine with every entrée.
  • 23
    Nov
    09

    The Joys of Emotional Eating


    Oh, I know we live in a society where body image is paramount and you’re either thin or you’re irrelevant.  And yes, given that we are amongst the top ten fattest nations in the world, we should be weight conscious and not indulge in abnormal eating habits, but exercise regularly and all that. Certainly, we should sublimate our gashmius (physicality) to the higher functions of our being …

    Yet, every once in a while – I propose – coddling the inner child is a laudable, valuable, action. Granted, nothing bests the sweet taam (taste) of Shabbos nor the sound of zmiros lifting you ever higher, but the occasional escape into corporeal weekday bliss, leaving the emotional and physical overload of life’s daily grind behind, is a good thing.

    The hustle and harried hurry of our fast, frequently faceless, hi-tech daily drudgery makes it difficult to be in the moment of any one thing.  So, we often have to steal or create a moment for ourselves. One of my favorite ways to seize that special particle of time is by dining out in style. Dress up or down, whichever makes you feel better, and figure out the type of cuisine you’re in the mood for. Personally, I prefer an eatery that exudes calm and soft lighting; where chef and staff wait on you indulgently, presenting the finest service and cuisine they have to offer. Hopefully, you’re in the company of someone you really want to be with during this stolen moment.

    If you can, leave the kids at home, shut the intruder cell phone, sit back, relax, breathe in, and give yourself over to the sensory delights to come. Start off with a good wine that has some personality, one that complements your disposition. Perhaps a deeply aromatic contemplative wine like one of the following:
    Makhpelah Cabernet/Merlot 2002 from Israel, only a few hundred cases were produced! This wine combines spicy aromas with a touch of vanilla and smoky oak. The well-balanced palate is soft and rich with plum and dark cherry flavors highlighted by fine tannins. For that extra,extra, special occasion, it’s a bit pricey! For the more price conscious, but still very discriminate wine palate, I recommend any of these, Italy’s Borgo Reale – Primitivo di Manduria 2001; France’s Flegman – Merlot 2006, or a South African Rothberg Cellar – Shiraz 2008. Frankly, there are far too many superb kosher wines to fit every mood, every palate, every occasion. You can find the above and hundreds more, at Liquors Galore (1212 Avenue J; Brooklyn, NY 11230; Telephone: 718.333.4168).

    Take in the calming scent of the wine’s perfume; delight in each sip, savoring the rich flavor, allowing your palate to pick up its complex symmetry. Let your body relax, as the liquid soporific hits your bloodstream.

    For starters, I recommend choosing an appetizer or salad that you’ve never tried before like Orchideä’s Spring Fling Salad; perhaps something like T Fusion‘s Pan Seared Sweetbreads or Solo‘s Barbeque Short Rib Spring Roll. Discern the distinctive flavors within. Redefine your stomach’s state of satiety by trading quantity with quality and variety of taste. Allow the sensual mixing of fresh textures and subtle tones and spices on your tongue and taste buds. Observe the placement of food, the artistry and color and let it become a true binge of the senses.

    For the main dish, if you’re watching those calories, pick a fish or chicken dish prepared in a way you’ve never tasted or wouldn’t make at home. when it comes to fish few can beat the imagination or IMITATE the meat-like look and taste at Plaza Dining (downstairs at Boro Park’s Plaza Hotel). If you’re a meat lover like I am, go for the steak if it’s really what you’ve got the yen for.

    We particularly enjoyed Prime Grill’s Black Angus Steak, and the Delmonico Steak at Bistro Grill. Order a notch higher on the temperature time as fine restaurants tend to grill a bit on the rarer side. If you’re out with friends be a good sharer, and sample each other’s dishes. It can get ugly with the really delectable, so be prepared to fight them off with fork or skewer if they become voracious.

    I’m usually too full by dessert time to get territorial.  Here a morsel of some heavenly delight is sufficient. Nothing alters vexation like a great dessert. We loved Les MaraisCrème Brûlée, Gusto Va Mare‘s Double Truffle and u cafe‘s Tricolor Cake.

    Finally, if you’re still not convinced, contemplate this with your latte: “There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

    So eat and enjoy!

    SYR

    12
    Nov
    09

    Art You Have to Eat!


    One must wonder if the Chef at u café (1436 Lexington Avenue, Bet E. 93rd E. 94th St, New York, NY 10128 – In Manattan’s Upper East Side – Telephone: 212.427.8223) was a painter of delightful still life canvasses in a former gilgul (incarnation). The attention to shape, the attention to color, the attention to detail, make the particular presentation unforgettable. Udi Ben Ari’s eye for color will remind you of some Caravaggio paintings, his shapes will bring to mind Breugel the Elder.

    While the owner and his parents are Israelis, this dairy and fish restaurant features far more than mere Israeli fare. Udi graduated from Johnson and Wales in Rhode Island and that training shows through. Not only is the look of the food guaranteed to make your mouth water, the unique combination of flavors in each dish bespeaks of an all too rare understanding of the subtle nuances of the taste each ingredient brings to the total culinary experience.

    On my fist visit to u café I ordered a Fritatta which, as you see below, was full of color and invitingly appetizing…

    fritattau

    The next time I went I ordered a Salmon Burger…

    salmonu

    Notice how the shape of the pepper, on top of the bread, fits in perfectly with the sauce at the bottom of the photo. Notice how well the cherry tomato’s color goes with the color of the pepper while it directs your attention to the fresh salad? Which 16th century painter’s eye was responsible for this dish’ perfect composition?

    Now look at the shapes and unbelievable colors in their Halomi Salad

    I can hear those of you who know me saying, “But CS, you never eat fish!” It’s true I haven’t – even as a child – touched fish.  Having seen another diner at the cafe at a table next to mine order the Salmon Burger, having smelled the non-fish aroma I thought I’d take a bold step and – with trepidation in my heart – I too ordered it. I shouldn’t have worried; it’s taste, it’s texture did not say fish! The perfect proportion of condiments made the burger taste very meat-like.

    I finished by having a coffee and a slice of Tricolor Cake. A true feast for the eye of any chocolate lover and his palate.

    tricoloru

    Once you taste their food you soon understand why they won this year’s Kosherfest’s competition for the best sandwich!

    The winning sandwich above is made with tarragon egg salad over smoked salmon with black caviar over brioche. Having eaten the  very same one I photographed I must fully agree with the Kosherfest judges that it is the best sandwich in New  York!

    All in all, both my visits there were delightful experiences that proved you can eat art!

    CS

    U Cafe on Urbanspoon

    EVENT

    This Saturday night, November the 14th, there will be a cantorial kumzits at u café, I plan to be there. Come over and say hello!


    09
    Nov
    09

    A Touch of Class in Boro Park


    Nestled in this residential street of Boro Park, better suited for Park Avenue, you’ll find an unusual restaurant specializing in fish and dairy dishes… Such a jewel is the Orchideä Restaurant located at 4815 12th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219 — Telephone: 718-686-7500 and 718-686-9100.

    The almost monochrome décor of silvers and grays accented by black and soft lavender produce a unique atmosphere of sophistication and romantic intimacy. Their delicately spiced salads are fresh, delicious, and a true feasts for the eyes. Exquisite attention to color, detail and placement of each vegetable on the plate elevates the gastronomic experience into near art-form.

    We started off our meal with artistically prepared sushi, and colorful, flavorful salads. I recommend the Blue Cheese or the Spring Fling.

    The mixture of flavors bespoke of exotic locales in far away lands. The Eggplant Parmegiano, was the best I ever had.

    The wine selection was more than adequate, the settings regal, and the portions nicely sized. I have a sweet tooth, having been weaned on Austrian pastries, so I was delighted with their unusual looking Napoleon, fruit shaped custard divided among three layers of Middle Eastern fillo pastry. Superb, is an understatement!

    orchidea2

    In presentation, in taste, in service, few establishments can rival Orchideä

    CS

    Orchidea on Urbanspoon

    05
    Nov
    09

    Manhattan in Brooklyn?


    Can a Brooklyn restaurant rival any top Manhattan eatery? The answer is a resounding yes, it can, it does! SYR and I found just such a dining experience at T Fusion Steakhouse (3223 Quentin Road, Brooklyn, NY 11234 — Telephone: 718.998.0002).

    We started with Chicken Lollipops, corn flake crumb crusted chicken drumsticks with sweet and sour pineapple sauce.

    They were superb!

    My companion then followed it with a medium cooked 21+ Day Aged Prime Rib Delmonico (smokehouse marinated and served with sauteed vegetables, glazed pearl onions and shoe string fries. It was juicy and tender.

    I ordered a Filet Mignon au Poivre, a mock 8 oz. filet steak served with sautéed spinach and very thin, long, curly pommes frites.

    Both of these dishes were perfectly cooked with a rare understanding of what makes each cut unique, a total mastery and control of the mysteries of flavor. Visually, they both looked very inviting. Their presentation was made with an obvious artistic eye, as their mere appearance made our mouths water. Their taste did not disappoint!

    The wine selection is excellent and we opted for a South African selection, Rothberg Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. A delightful choice!

    As a fierce chocolate lover I ended the meal with Chocolate Souffle (freshly baked and served with ice cream covered in a blueberry sauce. Look at that incredible presentation!) while SYR had the Tiramisu. Great choices to top off a true feast that delighted the eye and the palate. Service was polite, helpful and very friendly.

    All in all, it was an experience to remember and one we will repeat again and again.

    CS

    T-Fusion Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

    02
    Nov
    09

    The Dish on Fine Kosher Dining


    Eating out these days is far different than it was when our grandparents dined out for those special occasions at one of the few mom and pop restaurants around town.

    The choices in kosher dining today are plentiful and wide-ranging.  Culturally, we have expanded beyond the standard fare of French, Italian, Chinese or Israeli Mediterranean. Our Jewish melting pot now includes Persian, Thai, Indian, South American, Japanese, Baltic and more. We no longer are satisfied with the categorical breakdown of fish, meat or dairy, but require that fine restaurants include on their menus a variety of fresh salads, sushi, and complex fish dishes, vegetarian and healthy alternatives. We crave space, superb service, variety, artistry and an overall great dining experience. We dine out more frequently and collectively have become more sophisticated on the specifics of what we want from our dining experiences.

    Fast food is cheap and quick. Casual style or family type dining needs to be kid friendly, ample, relatively quick economical and tasty. Semi formal demands more class, more style, more variety, BUT still requires economy. Fine dining has to meet more exacting competitive criteria.

    The fine kosher patron of today expects a big bang for his buck. He requires a unique ambience, great service, and outstanding cuisine; food that is fresh, simple yet complex, and visually exciting. He or she wants to be delightfully surprised, yet yearns for consistency in greatness with some masterful standards that might inspire him or her to revisit for the unmatched taste, originality and quality. We expect wonderful wines and aperitifs, desserts that are either light and callorically mindful or naughtily decadent worthy of tomorrow’s guilt-ridden workout. We not only want to be treated like VIP royalty, but made to feel like we are the raison d’etre of our gastronomic choice for the evening. We want a dining experience that leaves us wanting another very much like it soon.

    Dining out is a competitive enterprise these days and all are eager for your patronage. Dining out is, all too often, more than just about food. Is there an interesting event at the particular restaurant? Is a celebrity chef shaping up a particular eatery’s kitchen? Is there a new cookbook out worthy of your attention? An exotic new product making its appearance in the kosher market? This is the place to find out, this is the place to compare notes. Our goal at The Kosher Scene is to delight, inform and help you navigate the fine kosher restaurant scene, offering deals and newsworthy articles and recipes that will keep you coming back for more and more. Eat, enjoy, and be satiated!

    CS and SY





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