Stickin' it to the man since 1927.
By Marc Kadushin
Normally this is where I would write a review about a restaurant, but not this week. If you’re wondering why, the answers is that this week is Passover. I won’t be getting into the religious significance of the holiday, because I am an amateur food critic not an amateur theologian. I was able to get one of the highly coveted seats to my family’s Seder. This year my aunt and uncle hosted, and let me say they proved themselves to be chefs of the highest caliber.
There is no proper way to start off a Seder diner other than gefilte fish. Gefilte fish is a mixture of ground fish that is then pickled and formed into balls. It has a mixture of sweet and fishy tastes, with just a hint of saltiness. I like to top it with horseradish to give it some extra kick.
There was also a platter of pickles. These pickles had been brined alongside some hot peppers. The result was a fusion of the different vegetable’s flavors. The sweet cucumber flavor and saltiness of the pickles mixed with the heat of the peppers. They ranked highly amongst pickles I have sampled.
After that was the matzah ball soup. A matzah ball is a mixture of matzah (unleavened Passover cracker bread), eggs, and seltzer that is chilled and then boiled. This year the cook decided to spice things up by adding nutmeg and ginger to the mix. The matzah balls were solid, but still had a spongy texture. They soaked up the broth and tasted like a savory bread pudding. The broth had a rich aromatic flavor and the herbs added a little extra something.
I started my main course off with the string beans. The greens were sautéed with garlic and oil. They had a savory flavor with a bit of smokiness from the charred parts. The garlic and oil threw a bold flavor with some kick to it into the mix. Next up were carrots and tarragon. The carrots were soft on the outside but still crunchy in the center. They had their normal savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. The tarragon added a mild licorice flavor and a light mint note.
After that was the veggie kugel. A kugel is a savory pudding of sorts. This one contained matzah, mushrooms, onions, and carrots. The kugel was soft, cakey, and practically melted in your mouth. The mushrooms added an earthy flavor and the other veggies brought some crunch to the table.
The center piece of the main course was brisket, and let me tell you it was delicious. The meat was sliced thin and served in a tomato based gravy full of juicy onions. It was moist, tender, and meaty. The gravy gave it some extra juice, a complimentary tomato flavor, a little bit of spiciness, and some sweet onions.
Finally there were cheesy mashed potatoes. The gravy only bolstered the dish’s appeal by throwing in some heat, sweet onions, moisture, and tomato flavor. Piling the potatoes on the brisket with the gravy was a tri-fecta of fantastic flavor.
For dessert there was a loaf of mandelbrot. Mandelbrot is a sort of Jewish cookie that is baked in loaves and then sliced. The mandelbrot was fairly soft but still maintained a firm form. Basically it’s a biscotti that doesn’t attempt to shatter your teeth. The mandel brot was chock full of chocolate chips. It tasted like a slightly sugary biscuit. It was lightly topped with cinnamon sugar to give it some spice and extra sweetness.
At the end of the day, my family knows how to host a mean Seder. There was a good mix of traditional dishes along with contemporary sides. All the food was wonderful and tasty. I am guessing many of you have never had the pleasure of attending a Seder, I highly recommend you do so at some point in your life.