Two new restaurants are updating traditional Jewish and Kosher food for contemporary New York diners. Zagat editor Kelly Dobkin filed the following report.
Inspired by the 100-year old Catskill mountain resort of the same name, Kutsher’s Tribeca is a modern Jewish American bistro, brought to you by veteran restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, and Zach Kutsher, among others.
"This was really all a labor of love for me. My family had Kutsher’s Country Club which was a resort in the Catskill Mountains. From my love of food and wine, I thought that if I could distill some of that essence in New York City and create a truly unique, modern Jewish-American bistro, I might be onto something," Kutscher says.
The Catskill mountain resort was famed for its traditional Jewish fare and now chef Mark Spangenthal puts a modern twist on old favorites.
"The menu is really a combination of, I’d say, Jewish-American staples, where we take certain classics and we make them better than anybody’s grandmother might have made," adds Kutsher. "One of my favorite dishes in the Reuben, and we’ve created this product that I really think is some of the best pastrami you’ll have anywhere in the world."
The recently opened Jezebel, located on W. Broadway and Grand Street is a modern American restaurant that also falls under the trend of nouveau Jewish cuisine, as its menu just happens to be Kosher.
"Part of the excitement of this was could we have people look at this menu not knowing and say, 'I want to eat there.' And not judge it for 'It was good for Kosher.' Most of the dinners, people left and said, 'That was pretty good. Are you sure it was Kosher?'" says Chef Bradford Thompson. "The artwork is the first thing that grabs everyone’s eyes. They redid the Last Supper, people walk by and say, 'Wait a minute that’s Woody Allen at the Last Supper.' And it’s just a really interesting experience visually while you’re dining as well."
Chef Thompson offers a playful take on American cuisine featuring one or two reinvented Jewish classics as well.
"We’re doing Jewish-Italian Wedding Soup and it’s got chicken meatballs, it’s got matzoh balls and it’s got all of the elements of both soups together and that’s been kind of fun," notes Thompson.
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